quickly denied. But the incident left a scar on the N.B.A.’s reputation for supporting free speech and severely limited its access to the Chinese market.

China Central Television, the state-run television network, stopped broadcasting N.B.A. games after Mr. Morey’s message on Twitter. Late last year, it briefly resumed coverage for Games 5 and 6 of the N.B.A. finals. A week later, Mr. Morey stepped down as general manager.

In a radio interview this week, Mr. Silver said that CCTV had stopped airing N.B.A. games again, but that fans could stream them through Tencent, the Chinese internet conglomerate. He said that the N.B.A.’s partnership with China was “complicated,” but that “doesn’t mean we don’t speak up about what we see are, you know, things in China that are inconsistent with our values.”

A spokesman for the league declined to comment for this article.

Money and a large China fan base are at stake for players like Mr. Thompson and the dozens of other American athletes who have been heavily promoted by Anta and Li-Ning. Mr. Thompson has had a partnership with Anta since 2014 that has given him a popular shoe line and sponsored tours in China.

More recent deals between the companies and N.B.A. players could face questions in coming weeks as tensions between the United States and China escalate. Jimmy Butler, a five-time all-star who plays for the Heat, and the Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet signed on with Li-Ning in November. Mr. Wade, the retired Heat player, helped CJ McCollum and D’Angelo Russell, two star guards, secure deals with Li-Ning through his sportswear line.

“My decision 7 years ago to sign with Li-Ning was to show the next generation that it’s not just one way of doing things,” Mr. Wade wrote on Twitter when he announced Mr. Russell’s contract in November 2019. “I had a chance to build a Global platform that gives future athletes a canvas to create and be expressive.”

Sopan Deb contributed reporting from New York, and Cao Li from Hong Kong.

View Source

Rooting for Your Home Team in Person? Here’s What You Need to Know.

In California, a color-coded system determined by local infection rates determines restrictions. Until recently, Los Angeles County was in the strictest purple tier, which would have restricted attendance to 100 fans at LA Galaxy and LAFC soccer games and Dodgers baseball games.

But the county has since moved to the red tier, which allows 20 percent capacity at sports venues. So when the Dodgers play their home opener on April 9, as many as 11,200 fans will be on hand at Dodger Stadium. Orange County also moved to red, which will enable 9,000 fans to turn out at Angel Stadium. So did San Diego County, giving the OK for 10,000 Padres fans at Petco Park.

And so it goes in a checkerboard manner across the country. The Colorado Rockies can fill their ballpark to just over 42 percent of capacity, or 21,000 fans who must wear proper masks. In Missouri, the St. Louis Cardinals can fill up to 32 percent of their stadium, and in Pennsylvania, the Philadelphia Phillies and Pittsburgh Pirates can fill 20 percent. But in Michigan, current regulations mandate that the Detroit Tigers admit only 1,000 fans, though the team says that figure could be increased.

In Oregon, state officials have not yet cleared the Portland Timbers men’s and Portland Thorns women’s soccer teams to allow fans into Providence Park. That’s also true for 13 N.B.A. basketball teams, though that number could shrink in the coming days.

Indeed, the N.B.A. has perhaps the most uniform leaguewide policy regarding Covid protocols. In the 17 arenas that currently admit fans, none are allowed to sit courtside and must be at least 15 feet behind team benches. Fans with seats within 30 feet of the court must present a negative Covid-19 test within 48 hours of game time or pass a rapid test on-site, and they are prohibited from eating.

The N.H.L. has also made rink-side adjustments after a few early-season outbreaks among players and officials in closed-door games. The plexiglass panels were removed from behind the team benches and the penalty boxes to promote air circulation. And at 18 of the 24 U.S. rinks that now or will soon allow attendance, fans are prohibited from sitting behind the benches and penalty boxes or along the glass.

Then there’s the Lone Star state, where Gov. Greg Abbott recently removed all Covid-19 restrictions.

The Texas Rangers took that as their cue to allow full capacity, all 40,518 seats, for the first three games at their new retractable-roof baseball stadium in Arlington — the first team in North America to do so. There will be no protocols beyond a mask-wearing rule at those two exhibition games on March 29 and 30 and the season opener on April 5. Subsequent games will be at less-than-full but still undetermined capacity.

View Source