NBA commissioner Adam Silver on China's request to fire Daryl Morey: 'No chance that's happening'

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In his first interview since returning to the United States after the NBA's trip to China, league commissioner Adam Silver made it clear he will not kowtow to the Chinese government.

Silver, speaking to "Good Morning America" co-host Robin Roberts at the TIME 100 Health Summit, claimed that Chinese leadership requested Rockets general manager Daryl Morey be fired after he tweeted his support for pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong. The since-deleted social media post set off a geopolitical firestorm and immediately jeopardized the NBA's lucrative

business deals in China.

"We made clear that we were being asked to fire [Morey], by the Chinese government, by the parties we dealt with, government and business," Silver said. "We said there's no chance that's happening. There's no chance we'll even discipline him."

MORE: Explaining every angle of the NBA-China controversy

The NBA's initial statement on the controversy was criticized by U.S. politicians on both sides of the aisle for choosing financial interests over human rights, leading to a follow-up statement from Silver in which he said the league is about "far more than growing our business" and will not "put itself in a position of regulating what players, employees and teams owners say or will not say on these issues."

Silver was surprised by the blowback because he felt the NBA had taken a "principled position" and hadn't "acquiesced" to China. He pointed to not only future monetary losses but also the instant impact of state-run station CCTV and streaming platform Tencent suspending game broadcasts.

"The losses have already been substantial," Silver said. "Our games are not back on the air in China as we speak, and we’ll see what happens next. ... The financial consequences have been and may continue to be fairly dramatic."

You can watch Roberts' interview with Silver below.