Fourteen months after he tweeted an image reading “FIGHT FOR FREEDOM STAND WITH HONG KONG,” former Rockets GM and current Sixers President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey finally opened up to ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan in a report released Wednesday morning, just hours before the Sixers’ season opener against the Wizards.
“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 explained. “But I love working, I love what I do, and I didn’t want that to happen.”
2020 has been a long and exhausting year, and many have forgotten what Morey did as he’s disappeared since that day last October. His tweet happened before David Stern and Kobe Bryant died, and in a world in which no one knew what COVID-19 was. There was no NBA bubble, because on October 4th, 2019, we all had a very different vision for 2020.
Because of the tweet, the NBA lost millions of dollars as their biggest global partner wanted nothing to do with it. LeBron James, James Harden, and other players were looked to for answers, even though they had nothing to do with it, and we all wondered if Morey would get fired or ever address the issue publicly. Over a year later, he’s finally opening up — and doesn’t regret his decision at all.
“I’m very comfortable with what I did,” Morey told MacMullan, explaining that his tweet came in solidarity with his longtime friends from Hong Kong. But what he didn’t know was the amount of drama that would ensue, and he grew worried for the safety of his family.
“But I was extremely concerned,” he explained. “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.”
The NBA’s relationship with China seems to be on the mend as Game 5 of the Finals was the first game aired in the country all year. Back in January, it looked like Morey’s tweet would cost the league between $150 million and $200 million, with salary cap projections falling to $113 million. According to reports, due to Morey’s tweet, the pandemic, and The Bubble, this season’s salary cap was set at $109.140 million with the luxury tax threshold at $132.627 million.
In the end, due to a once in a lifetime global pandemic and the essence of time healing all wounds, Morey was able to dodge a huge bullet. He got a new job, his family is safe, the NBA isn’t in shambles, and he got to stick up for his friends.
And the only reason we know what happened is because Daryl Morey trusted a journalist to speak to.
That’s not fake news.