By Thalia Kwok
CCTV suddenly discontinued broadcasting NBA games in the midst of semi-finals on May 24th and has yet to provide an explanation. Chinese NBA fans are in an uproar over missing the Western Finals. Speculation is starting to circulate through the local BBS that the ban may be political.
Last May*, Ira Newble of the Cleveland Cavaliers (now plays for the Los Angeles Lakers) released a letter signed by most of his teammates criticizing China’s role in Darfur. As a major importer of oil from Sudan, China has been frequently accused of funding the Sudanese government and thus fueling the armed conflict in the Darfur region. Newble and his agent, Steve Kauffman, plan to seek out as many NBA players as possible and the players unions of the NFL and Major League Baseball to join the cause.
Chinese netizens suspect this to be another instance of politics getting muddled with sports. One avid local fan complains, “[Newble]’s actions are not going to hurt the Chinese government, but instead is hurting the millions of NBA fans in China.”
Looks like Chinese sports fans are going to have to turn to alternate means for their NBA fix as finals approach.
Photo by Vedia
*NOTE: This entry was edited on May 28th 2008. Thanks to T for catching that.