NBA commissioner says league 'willing' to take losses in China to stand for 'American values'

Rich Arden / ESPN Images(NEW YORK) -- NBA commissioner Adam Silver said the league has suffered "substantial" losses in China as a result of the firestorm that followed a since-deleted tweet by the Houston Rockets general manager supporting the Hong Kong protests.

"The losses have already been substantial," Silver said in an interview with ABC News' Robin Roberts at the TIME 100 Health Summit on Thursday, adding that, "I’m not even sure where we’ll go from here."

“The financial consequences have been and may continue to be fairly dramatic," he added in his first stateside interview since the NBA became embroiled in controversy in China.

Silver maintained, however, that the league is "not only willing" but "we are" taking these financial losses in China to stand for "American values" such as freedom of expression -- and that they did not bow to Chinese pressure to fire the manager.

"The values of the NBA, these American values, we are an American business, travel with us wherever we go, and one of those values is free expression," he said.

On Oct. 4, Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeted in support of pro-democracy demonstrators in Hong Kong -- setting off a series of consequences that illuminated the political challenges U.S. companies can face as they navigate doing business in China's growing, lucrative market.

While the tweet was quickly deleted, China's state-run broadcasting network ordered a blackout of NBA coverage. China's internet giant Tencent, which inked a five-year, $1.5 billion deal in August to stream NBA games, also announced that they would not play Rockets games.

Morey has since apologized. The Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta said that Morey does not speak for them. Rockets players James Harden and Russell Westbrook apologized at a news conference, with Harden adding, "We love China, we love playing there."

NBA star player LeBron James also weighed in, telling reporters that he thought Morey “wasn't educated on the situation at hand” and that "so many people could have been harmed not only financially, physically, emotionally, spiritually” by his tweet.

After his comments were met with criticism, James later tweeted: "Let me clear up the confusion. I do not believe there was any consideration for the consequences and ramifications of the tweet. I’m not discussing the substance. Others can talk about that.”

Prior to Morey's tweet, the Rockets were one of the most beloved teams in China, and where retired Chinese basketball star Yao Ming played in the states.

In the aftermath of his tweet, however, a series of NBA events in China -- including charity events -- were abruptly canceled, and video on social media emerged of NBA posters being ripped off the side of buildings.

The financial fallout has also been swift and dramatic, but Silver said Thursday that the NBA is willingly taking those losses.

Silver said the NBA was pressured to fire Morey, but they chose to take a stand.

"We were being asked to fire him by the Chinese government, by parties we dealt within government and business," Silver said. "We said there is no chance that’s happening; there’s no chance we’ll even discipline him."

Still, Silver said that "our games are not back on the air in China as we speak. We'll see what happens next."

"I understand that there is a point of view from some that we shouldn’t be in business at all in China, and I’d say from an intellectual standpoint that’s fair, not getting into whether the tweet and the response to it," he said.

"At some point, look to the American government, we are in the middle of negotiating a trade agreement," he added. "Many multinational corporations obviously trade extensively with China."

Silver said that for years he has believed, however, that sports have been a way to "bring people together, often in a way that governments don't."

He added that he has been traveling to China for NBA events for years and he hopes to keep finding "a commonality" with the Chinese people.

"When you build that commonality over time, it potentially leads to shared understanding, empathy, begins dialogues .... often things that aren’t happening at high levels among official government operatives or diplomats," Silver said.

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Report: Patrick Mahomes to have MRI following patella dislocation

Allen Kee / ESPN Images(DENVER) -- Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes left in the middle of Thursday night's game against the Denver Broncos with what appears to be a dislocated kneecap.

Citing a source, ESPN reports the 24-year-old suffered a right patellar dislocation during the second quarter of the game. Mahomes walked off the field with the help of trainers and was ruled out from returning to the game.

The quarterback is expected to undergo an MRI to see if he sustained any ligament damage, ESPN reports.

Despite Mahomes' exit in the first half, the Chiefs went on to win the game 30-6.

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Scoreboard roundup -- 10/17/19

iStock(NEW YORK) -- Here are the scores from Thursday's sports events:

Houston 8, NY Yankees 3

Miami 107, Orlando 98
Chicago 111, Atlanta 93
Milwaukee 118, Minnesota 96  
Denver 110, Portland 104
Dallas 102, LA Clippers 87


Tampa Bay 4, Boston 3 - SO
Montreal 4, Minnesota 0
New Jersey 5, NY Rangers 2
Vancouver 4, St. Louis 3
NY Islanders 3 Winnipeg 1
Calgary 5, Detroit 1
Arizona 5, Nashville 2
Vegas 3, Ottawa 2
Buffalo 3, LA Kings 0


Kansas City 30, Denver 6

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Zion Williamson to sit out final preseason game with sore right knee

Photo by Phil Ellsworth / ESPN Images(NEW ORLEANS) -- First overall draft pick Zion Williamson will sit out the New Orleans Pelicans' final preseason game with a sore right knee, the team announced Thursday.

New Orleans is in New York City to take on the Knicks on Friday. Williamson did not travel with the team, and will undergo further testing. There was no immediate timetable for his return.

In four preseason games, Williamson has averaged 23.3 points and 6.5 rebounds in 27.3 minutes.

The 19-year-old missed most of the Las Vegas Summer League after suffering a bruise of his other knee. He had not missed any time during training camp.

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NBA Commissioner Adam Silver says league facing 'substantial' financial losses in China

Photo by Rich Arden / ESPN Images(NEW YORK) -- NBA Commissioner Adam Silver acknowledged on Thursday the "fairly dramatic" financial consequences the league is facing in the wake of Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey's tweet in support of pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.

"The losses have already been substantial," Silver said, speaking at the Time 100 Summit. The remarks were Silver's first since returning from China where he and a pair of teams were on a preseason exhibition tour.

"Our games are not back on the air in China as we speak," Silver explained, "and we'll see what happens next."

"I don't know where we go from here," Silver added. "The financial consequences have been and may continue to be fairly dramatic."

Silver was criticized last week for an initial statement that used the word "regrettable," apparently about Morey's tweet. He explained that the word regrettable actually referred to the reaction of the Chinese government and people to that tweet, not the tweet itself.

After the tweet on October 4, China's state television cancelled plans to broadcast the league's pair of exhibition games last week. Several companies and state-run offices have since cut ties with the league.

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Washington Wizards, Bradley Beal agree to two-year contract extension

taka4332/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- The Washington Wizards have agreed to a two-year contract extension with All-Star guard Bradley Beal, the team announced Thursday.

Beal was already owed $58 million over the next two seasons. He will make $72 million over the span of the extension, which goes into effect for the 2021-2022 season.

Beal could then be eligible for a five-year extension worth $266 million -- which would be the largest contract in NBA history.

The deal comes as rumors that teams could seek to acquire Beal in a trade this season. The additional commitment could serve to dilute the trade market for contenders seeking additional talent.

Beal is coming off of his best statistical season, scoring 25.6 points, dishing 5.5 assists and grabbing 5 rebounds per game.

The Wizards also have $171 million committed to injured point guard John Wall over the next four years.

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49ers have the NFL’s first-ever support dog

Instagram/the49ersfrenchie(SAN FRANCISCO) -- Football fans of all sides are rooting for the latest addition to the San Francisco 49ers.

Zoe, the 1-year-old French bulldog puppy, is the NFL’s first-ever emotional support dog.

The dog provides comfort and support to help people with their mental health struggles, including depression, panic attacks and bipolar disorder, according to the U.S. Dog Registry.

Zoe can help players overcome their pregame anxieties or post-game depression. She can even accompany the team on airplanes during trips.

The 49ers' director of player engagement, Austin Moss, and his assistant, Shelby Soltau, adopted the dog, who has almost 6,000 followers on Instagram.

In her posts, Zoe loves cuddling up to football players many times her size, like quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey and defensive end Solomon Thomas.

She even steals a smooch from defensive end Nick Bosa in one picture.

According to the 49ers, Zoe is currently seeking official training to become a therapy dog.

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Andrew Wiggins: 'There's not 100 players better than me'

AndrewSoundarajan/iStock(MINNEAPOLIS) -- Former first overall draft pick Andrew Wiggins was left off of's annual list of the top 100 players in the NBA, an exclusion he disagrees with.

"I don't really look at that too much," Wiggins said Thursday, adding "there's not 100 players better than me, so it doesn't matter what people think."

"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion," Wiggins said. "My job is to come out here and hoop, and that's what I'm going to do."

The 24-year-old is in his sixth season in the NBA. Experts have considered him something of an underperformer, especially after signing a $147.7 million contract extension in 2017.

Wiggins averaged 18.1 points and 4.8 rebounds last season, and shot the lowest percentage of his career from the field.

He pointed to the trade demand of former teammate Jimmy Butler and the firing of former coach Tom Thibodeau as getting last season off to a tough start for him. But now, Wiggins says, "I would say I enjoy it more than I did last year."

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Scoreboard roundup -- 10/16/19

iStock(NEW YORK) -- Here are the scores from Wednesday's sports events:

Detroit 116, Charlotte 110
San Antonio 128, Houston 114
Atlanta 100, New York 96
Memphis 124, Oklahoma City 119
Portland 126, Utah 118
Sacramento 124, Melbourne 110
L.A. Lakers 126, Golden State 93

Columbus 3, Dallas 2
Pittsburgh 3, Colorado 2 -- OT
Washington 4, Toronto 3
Edmonton 6, Philadelphia 3
Anaheim 5, Buffalo 2
San Jose 5, Carolina 2

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Cleveland Browns star Myles Garrett says fan punched him in the face after taking picture

Photo by Allen Kee / ESPN Images(CLEVELAND) -- Cleveland Browns defensive lineman Myles Garrett said a fan punched him in the face on Wednesday.

In a pair of tweets, the former first overall draft pick said that the person hopped out of their car to take a picture with him. Garrett says he lowered his window, only for the person to give him a "pillow tap."

Garrett joked on twitter that if the fan had "put your legs into it might have actually made me flinch."

The Browns issued a statement saying the team was aware of the incident, and that "the appropriate law enforcement authorities have been notified."

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