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N.B.A. Commissioner Commits to Free Speech as Chinese Companies Cut Ties

The N.B.A.’s decades-long push to develop China into its biggest overseas market appeared increasingly in jeopardy on Tuesday as the league’s commissioner stood firm in the face of criticism from Beijing and the Chinese threatened financial repercussions.

China’s state-run television announced it would not broadcast two N.B.A. preseason games scheduled for this week in Shanghai and Shenzhen that will feature basketball’s biggest star, LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers. Hours later, the league’s commissioner, Adam Silver, issued his most emphatic defense of the right of its employees to speak out on political issues, after days of criticism saying that the N.