Scores of demonstrators showed up at the Barclays Center Friday night during a preseason game between the Brooklyn Nets and the Toronto Raptors to show support for a pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong.

The protest by roughly 150 demonstrators, who wore t-shirts that read “Stand With Hong Kong” and “Free Tibet” and stood periodically with their arms raised, was the latest sign of how mired the NBA has become in an overseas political crisis.

Earlier this month, Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeted a message of support for protesters in Hong Kong, prompting anger from one of the league’s largest and most important markets. Morey deleted the tweet and the NBA issued an apology for offending Chinese fans. China, however, further retaliated by having its state-run television network, China Central Television, cancel its broadcasts of the preseason games between the Lakers and the Nets and other events that were held in its country.

“It’s money and silence,” said Nathan Law, a prominent Hong Kong activist who attended the protest Friday night. “They are directly affecting the liberal values and freedom of speech in the U.S.”

He added: “We are here to say that the isolation tactics are not working.”

The demonstration at Barclays Center was peaceful but carefully coordinated to make their presence known throughout the game. Andrew Duncan, a movie producer whose recent credits include the critically acclaimed The Florida Project, purchased around 300 tickets for the demonstrators, many of whom are involved with the group New Yorkers Supporting Hong Kong or NY4HK.

Duncan, a Brooklyn resident who happens to be a Nets fan, has been actively involved in the campaign for democracy and human rights in China since around 2010.

"This issue is not just about Hong Kong," he told Gothamist in a phone interview on Saturday. "This is a United States problem. A U.S. citizen expressed support of democracy on a U.S. social media website that is banned in China. He has been censored. That is unacceptable."

He added: "The NBA should not be in bed with a communist regime."

According to Duncan, around two weeks ago he was in Paris when he received a call from a former member of the National Security Council who told him that the NBA was planning to fire Morey. He said he then worked the phones, calling his contacts in Congress to put pressure on the league.

The NBA commissioner, Adam Silver, on Thursday, during his first public appearance in the United States since coming back from the league's trip to Asia, acknowledged that in fact the Chinese government had asked for Morey to be fired.

“We said there’s no chance that’s happening,” Silver said. “There’s no chance we’ll even discipline him.”

Making the protests doubly significant was the fact that Brooklyn Nets' owner Joe Tsai, a Taiwanese-billionaire who co-founded the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba with a partner in mainland China, has also entered into the fray. He recently posted an open letter on Facebook that called the Hong Kong protesters a "separatist movement" and criticized Morey's tweet as "damaging to the relationship with our fans in China.”

LeBron James, the league's biggest star who plays for the Los Angeles Lakers, has also been accused of bowing to political and financial pressures from China. James, who has acknowledged not fully understanding the issues in Hong Kong, has nevertheless cautioned those in the league to be careful about what they say about the protests. “Yes, we do have freedom of speech,” James said. “But at times, there are ramifications for the negative that can happen when you’re not thinking about others, when you only think about yourself.”

Similarly, after Friday night's game, Kyrie Irving, the new Nets point guard, also suggested that the overseas protests were not something that concerned him. "I understand that Hong Kong and China is dealing with their issues, respectively," he said. "But there is enough oppression and stuff going on in America for me not to be involved in the community issues here as well."

Duncan said he is considering staging similar demonstrations. But he commended the respectful way in which the Barclays Center staff treated him and other protesters, none of whom were escorted out of the arena.

"I like the Nets," he said. "And I decided I wanted to make a statement with my hometown team."

UPDATE: The story has been revised to state that Duncan said he was contacted by a former member of the National Security Council, not a current member.