Daryl Morey worried about career amid threats to family over Hong Kong tweet
Daryl Morey ignited a firestorm with a single tweet in the fall of 2019 that threatened to severely compromise the NBA’s lucrative endeavors in China, and the new Philadelphia 76ers president of basketball operations admits he was concerned at the time that the controversy would end his career.
“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 Jackie MacMullan of ESPN. “But I love working, I love what I do, and I didn’t want that to happen.”
Addressing the start of the next chapter of his NBA career in Philadelphia in the interview, Morey took time to look back at the tumultuous series of events spawned by his social media activity while still serving in the capacity of general manager for the Houston Rockets.
The tweet from Morey that ensnared the league in controversy expressed support for pro-democracy protesters in Hong Hong. In the Oct. 4, 2019 tweet, Morey wrote, “Fight For Freedom, Stand With Hong Kong.”
Making matters even more troubling, Morey revealed this week that the scandal elicited threats to himself and his family.
“I was actually really, really worried about that,” Morey said of threats on his wife and two children per intel he received but declining to elaborate on any specific threat. “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.”
The scandal spawned by Morey’s tweet unsurprisingly wreaked havoc upon the NBA’s business interests in the Chinese market. The China government’s response included a decision to pull sponsorships and television coverage related to the NBA.
League sources reportedly estimated at the time that the fallout from the controversy cost the league upwards of $150-$200 million.
Still, despite the tumult caused in both his professional and personal life, Morey insists there are no regrets over issuing the tweet that spawned the scandal.
“I’m very comfortable with what I did,” Morey said of his decision to support the protests in Hong Kong.