A simple tweet is all it took.

A single, simple tweet from an NBA executive last week launched what will be, in the years to come, a massive fight over big-business and big-money deals with the communist economic machine in China — a machine that has no use for the individual freedoms and free speech that Americans hold dear.

Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey set off the international incident, costing the NBA millions — and potentially billions of dollars — by tweeting a simple, pro-Democracy sentiment in support of Hong Kong.

The sentiment is one that all freedom- and First Amendment-loving Americans should be behind:

“Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong,” is all Morey said in the now-deleted tweet.

The outcry from China was immediate and the Rockets GM was forced to apologize in two more tweets, which have since drawn more than 20,000 replies from all over the free world, mostly in support of Morey, free speech and Hong Kong.

The Rockets have been the NBA’s top franchise in China by miles and miles ever since its countryman, Yao Ming, starred in Houston from 2002 to 2011. Current Rockets star James Harden does huge business in China, and he also offered a meek apology.

And now, because of one freedom-supporting tweet, a number of Chinese businesses and the Chinese Basketball Association, headed by Ming, have cut ties with the Rockets. And online shopping retailers Alibaba and JD.com have removed Rockets gear from their sites.

Chinese state-run TV network CCTV, along with Tencent,which owns the NBA’s digital streaming rights in China, said they are suspending the broadcast of all preseason games. It’s unclear if the suspension will carry over into the regular season.

The kicker: The NBA and Tencent have a deal in place until the completion of the 2024-2025 season, worth $1.5 billion to the league.

“We can no longer watch Rockets games and any information about it has been banned,” high school student Yu Mingshan said during an interview with Reuters. “So I think lots of Rockets fans will be very sad. But of course, this matter involves state-level issues, so we can’t allow this (to go unpunished).”

In addition to Morey’s apology, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has been pulling double duty damage control, trying to appease China’s leaders and upset fans while also fending off angry fans and politicians in the U.S.

“I think as a values-based organization that I want to make it clear: Daryl Morey is supported in terms of his ability to exercise his freedom of expression,” Silver said during an interview with Kyodo News in Japan.

CCTV blasted Silver’s sentiment because … that’s what communists and fascists do.

“We are strongly dissatisfied and we oppose Silver’s claim to support Morey’s right of free expression,” CCTV said in a statement. “We believe that any speech that challenges national sovereignty and social stability is not within the scope of freedom of speech.”

China, the NBA, Hypocrisy and the Almighty Dollar

U.S. citizens and lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are infuriated by what they see as an attack on freedom of expression, and the NBA — the most “woke” sports league in the country — is bending over backward to appease communists for fear of losing money.

You see, Silver has said in the past that “political speech” is the players’ “absolute right within the league,” as many have spoken out against U.S. President Donald Trump and in favor of movements like Black Lives Matter.

Whether you agree with those sentiments or not, that’s fine — it’s their prerogative to say what they want in a free country like the United States.

Unless of course that “political speech” has anything to do with China’s Communist Party, the biggest threat to freedom in the world because of the economic clout Beijing wields as the second-largest economy with a massive consumer population.

For more evidence of hypocrisy, look no further than Golden State Warriors Coach Steve Kerr, a frequent, outspoken critic of Trump who said his players were “disgusted and disappointed” by his election win in 2016.

However, when asked about the issue with China, Kerr basically said “no comment.”