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Pro-Hong Kong protesters hold signs at a Celtics-Cavaliers preseason game. Photo: Nic Antaya for The Boston Globe via Getty Images

The NBA is bracing for a wave of pro-Hong Kong protests during the opening week of its season thanks to the league's showdown with China over free speech, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The big picture: The NBA forbids signs with political messages at games, and most of its arenas have policies in place to eject fans for continued disruptive behavior — but a person familiar with the matter told the WSJ that the league "respects peaceful demonstrations and does not believe they will be a disruptive issue."

Flashback: After Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeted earlier this month in support of Hong Kong, league commissioner Adam Silver said that "the long-held values of the NBA are to support freedom of expression" — despite economic pushback from its business partners in China.

The state of play: People are utilizing crowdfunding websites to fund grassroots movements that aim to supply T-shirts and support better-organized protests at upcoming games. The league has also seen a spate of protests occur during its preseason slate.

  • At least three protesting fans at preseason games in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., reported being removed and others said officials confiscated their "Free Hong Kong" signs, BuzzFeed News reports.
  • On Friday, over 150 protesters wore black "Stand With Hong Kong" T-shirts to the Brooklyn Nets' final preseason game. The team's owner, Joe Tsai, is a co-founder of Chinese tech giant Alibaba.

The bottom line: If the protests are widespread or visible, it could force Chinese censors to black out games — which could cause issues for the NBA's streaming deal with Tencent, reportedly worth billions of dollars.

Go deeper: America strikes back against China's censorship

Go deeper

Rep. Rice demands Cuomo resign after 3rd woman accuses him of misconduct

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo during a February news conference in New York City. Photo: Seth Wenig/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-N.Y.) on Monday evening called for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) to resign, after a third woman accused him of inappropriate behavior.

Driving the news: Anna Ruch, a former member of the Obama administration and the 2020 Biden campaign, told the New York Times Monday that Cuomo asked to kiss her at a New York City wedding reception in September 2019.

Scoop: Inside the GOP's plan to retake the House

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg via Getty Images

House Republicans will reclaim their majority in 2022 by offering candidates who are women, minorities or veterans, a memo obtained by Axios says.

Why it matters: The document, drafted by a super PAC blessed by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, names top Democrats to target — Jared Golden of Maine, Matt Cartwright of Pennsylvania and Ron Kind of Wisconsin — and the type of Republican candidates to beat them.

4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Trump talked out of early Ohio endorsement

Jane Timken at a 2017 Trump rally. Photo: Kyle Mazza/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Donald Trump had to be talked out of making an early endorsement in Ohio's 2022 U.S. Senate race, a sign of his eagerness to reengage politically, people familiar with the conversations tell Axios.

What we're hearing: The former president discussed endorsing former state GOP chair Jane Timken last week during a meeting at Mar-a-Lago with RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, but top advisers — including Donald Trump Jr. — urged him to wait.