10/16 17:46 CDT Back from China, Nets steer clear of controversy in remarks
Back from China, Nets steer clear of controversy in remarks
By BRIAN MAHONEY
AP Basketball Writer
NEW YORK (AP) --- The Brooklyn Nets played well and ate great on their trip to
That was the tenor of their comments Wednesday after their first practice back
home, downplaying the impact the ongoing international tension between the NBA
and China had on them.
The Nets steered clear of any statements like those of LeBron James that could
have further inflamed the situation. Players say they were not rattled by the
turbulence they faced during their two exhibition games against the Los Angeles
Lakers last week, which came as the NBA dealt with the fallout from Rockets
general manager Daryl Morey's now-deleted tweet in support of support for
anti-government protesters in Hong Kong.
Joe Harris was just in China last month for the Basketball World Cup and said
this trip wasn't much different.
"To be honest, you know there's a lot of stuff going on but the atmosphere was
really very similar to what it was during the World Cup," Harris said. "The
fans were extremely passionate. They love the game. They still sold out both
games, so take out everything that was actually going on it really felt like
almost exactly the same."
It was hard to ignore everything, with Chinese and NBA officials canceling
events and news conferences, and advertising and local television coverage for
the games in Shanghai and Shenzhen removed.
"At the end of the day we're human and we see those things, so we just tried to
stick together as much as we could," guard Caris LeVert said.
The Nets who did speak to reporters --- Kyrie Irving wasn't among them --- said
they hadn't seen Morey's tweet and couldn't recall when they learned of it.
Both teams met with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver shortly after arriving, where
Harris said the commissioner outlined what was happening.
"It's not like he was standing in front of everybody and making some, like,
dramatic commentary," Harris said. "He was basically describing what we already
knew was going on."
Irving spoke up in the meeting, but Harris said those remarks were not
political but rather related mostly to basketball.
"It was more just focusing on trying to get ready for the games," Harris said.
Harris said one of his community events, a visit with children at a play area,
still went on. So did the team functions planned by new owner Joe Tsai, the
co-founder of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba.
Tsai posted a lengthy letter to fans on Facebook following Morey's tweet, which
Harris said the owner encouraged the players to read. He was around the team
during the week getting the know players and staff.
He made a good impression with his dinners, which Harris indicated were even
better than Gregg Popovich's while playing for the U.S.
"I mean Pop had a lot of good dinners and stuff planned when we were out there
too," Harris said, "but I'd say Joe Tsai is probably a little more familiar
with some of the dining establishments in Shanghai and Shenzhen."
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