Sports | December 23, 2020 11:12 am

NBA Exec Daryl Morey Was “Extremely Concerned” After Hong Kong Tweet

Morey feared for the safety of his wife and two children as well as himself

NBA Exec Daryl Morey Was "Extremely Concerned" After Hong Kong Tweet
Ex-Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey in 2013.
Getty Images

About 14 months ago, a time that seems like the distant past, former Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey posted a message of support to protestors in Hong Kong on Twitter that read: “Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong.”

That tweet, which Morey subsequently deleted, led to the NBA being pulled off the airwaves in China which cost the league millions in revenue, LeBron James criticizing the pro-Hong Kong tweet and protests about the league not doing its part to support Hong Kong.

It also resulted in Morey, who is now the Philadelphia 76ers’ president of basketball operations, fearing for the safety of his wife and two children as well as himself.

“I was actually really, really worried about that,” Morey told ESPN. “Luckily I had [access to] different people who were assisting me with that and giving me advice on how to handle it. Hopefully, I’ve been able to get where we have some level of safety.But I was extremely concerned. You don’t want the second-most powerful government on Earth mad at you, if you can avoid it. In this case, I couldn’t.”

In addition to being concerned about safety, Morey was also concerned about his job security after Chinese officials persistently called for him to be fired. But, the Rockets stood firm in retaining him — although he did resign from the team in October 2020 (about a year after the controversial tweet).

“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 told The Worldwide Leader. “But I love working, I love what I do, and I didn’t want that to happen.”

It didn’t, as Morey is now tasked with continuing “The Process” in Philly.

Part of that process may be trading young star Ben Simmons for superstar James Harden, a player Morey is very familiar with thanks to his time in Houston.

But, should a trade involving those players happen, Harden likely won’t be able to take the court immediately as it appears he will be held out of competing due to the NBA’s COVID-19 safety protocols and a possible suspension for violating said protocols based on a recent trip to a strip club.

For his part, Simmons says he is not concerned with being traded away from Philadelphia to Houston.

“I’m here to win a championship,” he told ESPN. “That goal is never gonna change. I know things are always going to be said in the media, and rumors and things like that, but my goal is to come in every day and get better and help the team that I’m on win a championship.”