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Inside LeBron James’ and Adam Silver’s make-or-break moments in China

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By Tuesday, around the time the Lakers landed in Shanghai, NBA commissioner Adam Silver was conducting a news conference in Japan in which he defended Morey’s tweet as “a freedom of expression.”

Silver’s stance didn’t help ease tensions.cheap nfl nike jersey

As the Lakers took the bus to the team hotel, they got wind that the NBA Cares event, scheduled to be hosted by the Nets, had been canceled earlier in the day by the Chinese government. When the Lakers got to the Ritz, they found out that the welcome reception for both teams that evening was canceled, too.
By Wednesday, the league’s second NBA Cares event, this one hosted by the Lakers, had been canceled by the Chinese government. Undeterred and hoping to get their jet-lagged legs moving and salvage a day of training camp for their group full of new faces, the Lakers went to the Mercedes-Benz Arena to practice.

The basketball didn’t last long.4

After about 30 minutes of practice, the Lakers were rushed off the court by arena workers, sources told ESPN. The workers were tasked with sanding down and resurfacing the hardwood to remove the logos for the presenting sponsors of the China Games because those sponsors had withdrawn.

While the games were losing corporate money, the players were feeling it in their wallets as well.

James, Anthony Davis, Kyle Kuzma and Rajon Rondo — to name a few — had appearances canceled. One Lakers player, sources told ESPN, had agreed to a $1 million endorsement deal with a Chinese company prior to the trip. When he arrived — poof — it was gone. A seven-figure payday went out the window.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

James, after taking 15 consecutive summer trips to China, skipped it this year to complete the filming of “Space Jam 2,” anticipating that the China Games would serve as a substitute. Some of his most important appearances of the year — including two with Nike and one with Beats by Dre — were canceled during this trip.

According to public financial statements, Nike and other companies’ basketball shoe sales have been relatively flat in recent quarters in North America but have been surging in China, where millions of teenagers save up to buy the latest signature models.

Eating an early lunch back at the hotel, players watched as the banners featuring their images — and the logos of former sponsors — were peeled off and pulled down until they lay in a clump at the base of the building. The players could only shake their heads at the sight.

“Everything was getting canceled right before things were [supposed to be] happening,” James said. “Everything was getting canceled.”

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