When Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeted support for anti-government protests in Hong Kong, he may have thought it a harmless gesture, not something that would spark a new firestorm in US-China ties, infuriate many of the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) 500 million fans in China, and put in jeopardy billions in revenues.

He has since deleted his tweet: “Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong” and expressed regrets: “I did not intend … to cause any offence to Rockets fans and friends of mine in China.”

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