Celtics games blocked in China after Kanter backs Tibet
Broadcasts of Boston Celtics games are unlikely to be available in China for the foreseeable future, following recent comments by Celtics center Enes Kanter in favor of Tibet. Tencent, the Chinese tech company that has partnered with the NBA to broadcast league games in China, pulled the live broadcast of the Celtics’ double-overtime thriller Wednesday night against the former New York Knicks. Kanter’s team, the Washington To post reports. In 2019, the NBA announced it had accepted a five-year contract expansion along with Tencent, the company would broadcast NBA programming and games throughout the 2024-25 season.
On Wednesday, Kanter recorded an almost three-minute video posted to both Twitter and Facebook where he wore a shirt with a photo of the Dalai Lama, attacked the Chinese government, pleaded for Tibet’s independence and called Chinese leader Xi Jinping a “brutal dictator.”
“Only the Tibetan people should decide 100% of the future of Tibet. Tibet belongs to the Tibetan people, and I hope and believe Tibet will achieve independence, ”Kanter said, later continuing:“ China’s brutal dictator Xi Jinping, I have a message for you and your friends. henchmen. I repeat, over and over again, loud and clear. Hope you hear me: Free Tibet. Free Tibet. Free Tibet.
Kanter is known for his outspokenness on political and social causes and has been particularly critical of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the president of Turkey, Kanter’s home country.
This is not the first time that the league has experienced tensions in its trade relations with China. In 2019, then-Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeted in support of the Hong Kong anti-Beijing protests, forcing the team to distance themselves from the post and the league check for damage. (Morey later apologized for the tweet.) Fortune previously reported that games featuring the Philadelphia 76ers, where Morey now works as president of basketball operations, have also been blocked from being broadcast in China.