BEIJING (AP) â When Wu Xintong’s favorite team, the Los Angeles Lakers, played the Brooklyn Nets in Shanghai this Thursday, she broke a viewing streak of more than 10 years and deliberately missed the game. Until recently, the 20-year-old student in northern Hebei province had followed her idol, Kobe Bryant, religiously. She meticulously recorded in a notebook the details of every Lakers performance, down to the time stamps of certain players’ moves. By her own accounting, two-thirds of her closet is filled with Lakers jerseys and other purple and gold apparel, not to mention the Lakers mugs, stickers and cellphone cases she keeps in a box. But then Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeted last week in support of anti-government protests in Hong Kong, and everything changed for fans like Wu. A new chant flooded Chinese sports forums: “I can live without basketball, but I can’t live without my motherland.” The burst of patriotic fervor â buoyed by Chinese companies swiftly suspending their NBA partnerships â came on the heels of a grand celebration marking 70 years of Communist Party rule in China. President Xi Jinping, the country’s most powerful leader in decades, has rallied the populace around the… Read full this story
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