James Harden had issued his apologies to Chinese fans after Houston Rockets' General Manager Daryl Morey tweeted support to Hong Kong democracy protesters. In the aftermath of Morey's statements, the NBA franchise has already lost several sponsors in China.

China's state broadcaster has also delved into the possibility of yanking of Rocket's games from the air in some of the country's broadcasting channels.

Harden, on Monday, said to the media that "We apologize. We love China," alongside Rockets guard Russel Westbrook. "Brodie" now a member of the Texas franchise has also issued his apologies.

"The Beard" continued that they love playing in China and that both he and Westbrook go there "twice a year." He added that Chinese fans "show us most support, so we appreciate them."

On Monday, the embattled GM tried to air his side. He said that he "did not intend [his] tweet to cause any offense to Rockets fans and friends of mine in China."

He purposedly added that he "was merely voicing one thought, based on one interpretation," adding that he had a lot of opportunities to "consider other perspectives."

Morey said that he acknowledges the "significant support our Chinese fans and sponsors have provided."

The NBA has also issued its statement, saying that the league recognizes the tweet that Morey posted. In their official statement, the American professional basketball organization noted that the tweet has "offended... our friends and fans in China, which is regrettable."

However, politicians in the United States find the apology an "embarrassment." Texan presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke said that "the only thing the NBA should be apologizing for is... prioritization of profits over human rights."

Despite their sincerest regrets, Houston has found itself in the crosshairs of many triggered Chinese fans. In Weibo, pro-China commenters were united against Morey's statements. One person said that the Rockets should "Get out of China."

Houston has also lost the backing of several sponsors, including sportswear brand Li Ning and the Shanghai Pudong Development Bank. China's state broadcaster CCTV and Tencent Holdings have also said that they will stop airing Rockets games.

Houston Rockets guard James Harden (R) distanced himself from the controversy saying "We apologise. We love China"
Houston Rockets guard James Harden (R) distanced himself from the controversy saying "We apologise. We love China" AFP / Toshifumi KITAMURA

The Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) is now considering severing ties with Houston over Morey's "incorrect comments." Houston has a massive following in China after they signed Hall-of-Famer Yao Ming in 2002.

The incident isn't the first time an NBA executive landed on hot water. In 2009, Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling was sued by his former team executive, Elgin Baylor, for employment discrimination. Five years later, Sterling was also involved in another controversy after he said that he doesn't want Black-Americans to watch Clippers games.