Guo Ailun, the first Chinese player to sign to the Jordan brand, sat out the Chinese Basketball Association game between Liaoning and Jilin on Friday despite being named on the roster. His absence for last season’s runners-up comes amid the continuing controversy around Xinjiang cotton that has seen many Chinese celebrities step away from endorsements with brands such as Nike and Adidas. While coach Yang Ming said after the game that Guo was injured there was no injury announcement before tip-off and it has been speculated that his absence was due to his endorsement deal. China's Guo Ailun out here breaking ankles in Summer League 😱 #SCtop10 pic.twitter.com/tPa8TCFgwt — SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) July 9, 2019 The basketball star, who scored 13 points for the North in the CBA All-Star game last weekend, signed for Nike’s Jordan brand in 2017, becoming the first Chinese-born player to do so. “We’re excited to welcome Guo to the Jordan Family,” Michael Jordan said at the time. NBA: When China fell in love with Yao Ming’s Houston Rockets “From his competitive spirit and style of play on the court to his strong personality off the court, he’s a great fit for the brand. We look forward to Guo representing the game, Jordan Brand, and ultimately himself in Greater China.” “Joining the Jordan Brand family is a dream come true,” Guo said on signing. “I’ve visualised playing like MJ since I was a kid – from managing the game and leading my team to a championship. It is an honour to be the first Jordan Brand athlete in China and I am thrilled to bring my love of the game to the brand.” Last season Guo led the CBA in fines for dress-code violations, racking up 1.15 million yuan (US$174,000) in fines for not wearing Li-Ning. China’s national basketball team are sponsored by Nike, with players such as former NBA hope Yi Jianlian also having individual deals. Yi refused to wear the leaguewide Li Ning shoes when he returned from the NBA in 2016 and was banned for one game after throwing his shoes to the floor. He was allowed to wear his Nike shoes after that. One of the best guards in the CBA, Guo Ailun, balled out for Liaoning last night and had a career high 17 assists in a 126-105 win over the Fujian Sturgeons. pic.twitter.com/YIOqgcd4EU — East Asia Super League (@EASLofficial) March 15, 2021 Only one CBA star, Zhou Qi, has spoken out, telling fans that he supports Xinjiang cotton on social media. Neither the CBA nor chairman Yao Ming – who wore Nike shoes during his first NBA season with the Houston Rockets – have made an official announcement on the issue. One basketball journalist called for tolerance for those condemning players such as Guo for not speaking out. CBA: Jeremy Lin fined US$84,000 for dress code violations last season “You think it’s just a pair of shoes, a word of endorsement, but there are too many things to deal with behind the scenes,” Basketball Pioneer reporter Ferdinand_Mai Sufeng wrote on China’s Twitter-like Weibo alongside a picture of Guo and team captain Han Dejun. “It’s unrealistic to expect individuals to stand up and bear everything, so let’s be more tolerant to the relevant players. Everyone is waiting for the attitude of their superiors.” The Northeast Derby between Liaoning and Jilin was broadcast live on CCTV as well as being streamed online. Liaoning won the 48th round game by a score of 100-83. Liaoning’s next game is against Beijing Royal Fighters on Sunday.