The tension between the NBA and the Chinese government in the wake of Rockets executive Daryl Morey tweeting his support for Hong Kong protests is somehow still escalating.

Today’s game between the Lakers and the Nets in Shanghai is being played as scheduled, though with a few significant changes. For one, there are no sponsors on the court, as noted by ESPN’s Rachel Nichols:

Marc Stein posited a theory that it was an intimidation tactic by the Chinese government:

Meanwhile, China is doing everything possible to avoid NBA stars answering questions on, well, anything, by outright canceling all media availability.

It’s a mixture of ironic and terrifying. China is responding to criticism that they use censorship and intimidation to control free speech by doing just that. Meanwhile, it’s very clear they can do that, and if they’re willing to go this far with basketball players, it’s scary to think how far they’re going to go with citizen protesters.

About Jay Rigdon

Jay is a writer and editor for The Comeback, and a contributor at Awful Announcing. He is not a strong swimmer.