76ers exec Morey says he feared HK tweet would end NBA career

·1-min read
Former Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey. now with the Philadelphia 76ers, says he once feared his tweet backing Hong Kong activists could end his NBA career

Daryl Morey, embarking on his first season as Philadelphia 76ers President of Basketball Operations, told ESPN in an article published Wednesday he once feared his tweet last year supporting Hong Kong activists could end his NBA career.

Morey was general manager of the Houston Rockets when he tweeted: "Fight for Freedom, stand with Hong Kong," referring to protests Beijing calls separatist and seditious.

The tweet triggered a fierce backlash in China -- the NBA's most lucrative market outside the United States -- and the rift cost the league hundreds of millions of dollars.

When Morey stepped down in October of this year after guiding Rockets basketball operations since 2007, China's state broadcaster -- which blacked out NBA games for a year -- hinted he had "paid a price" for the tweet.

Two weeks later, however, Morey landed with the 76ers, although he acknowledged in his ESPN interview that the firestorm had caused him to wonder if he would end up out of the league.

"In the last 12 months, I had moments where I thought I might never work in the NBA again, for reasons I was willing to go down for," Morey said. "But I love working, I love what I do, and I didn't want that to happen."

Morey said he remained "very comfortable with what I did" even though he didn't anticipate the outrage he would face.

"You don't want the second-most powerful government on Earth mad at you, if you can avoid it," he said.