China will air Game 5, in a shift.
China Central Television, the state-run TV network, announced Friday that it would televise an N.B.A. game for the first time since a dispute with the league began last fall after a team executive expressed support for pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.
The move suggested a softening of tensions between the N.B.A. and China that the league estimated had cost it hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue and that elicited criticism from fans and politicians.
The change was to begin with Game 5 of the N.B.A. finals between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Miami Heat on Friday night.
“On the morning of October 10, the channel of CCTV Sports will broadcast the fifth game of the N.B.A. finals,” the network said in a post in Chinese on Weibo, a Chinese social media platform. “Welcome everyone to watch at the time!”
What makes Jimmy Butler different?
Before the season, Marc Stein talked to Butler about his road to stardom in the N.B.A.
Butler has done a lot of changing since his arrival in the N.B.A. as the 30th overall pick of the Chicago Bulls in 2011. He blossomed into a four-time All-Star with a reputation as a hypercompetitive and demanding teammate, unafraid to also challenge coaches, team executives, whomever.
In an interview with Yahoo Sports last season, Butler acknowledged that he could rightly be described as “confrontational.” He has also described himself as “a little extra at times.”
Butler said he does what he wants, despite what people may think of him.
As he prepares to begin his new work life with the Heat, Butler is pushing back harder against those around the N.B.A. who have criticized him for how much he has changed from his early days in the league. Back then, he was known as a coach-pleaser who liked to accentuate his Texas roots by wearing cowboy boots and oversize belt buckles, and listening to country music.
“I like it,” Butler said of the knock that he has changed too much. “I am different. I’ve picked up a lot of different hobbies. I don’t want to stay the same.
“I do what makes me happy. Some people just don’t like it. Some people just don’t want people to be happy.”