NBA apologizes for Rockets official blocking political question to James Harden and Russell Westbrook

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China has everyone around the NBA shook.

Rockets general manager Daryl Morey’s tweet supporting Hong Kong protesters, who are trying to maintain and expand their freedoms, has cost the league significantly – both financially in China and reputationally in the United States. Many are afraid to pour gasoline on the fire.

That’s why a fairly benign question to James Harden and Russell Westbrook – will the current controversy affect their willingness to speak on political issues? – got blocked by a Rockets official.

But the NBA said the official went too far.

Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press:

Good for the NBA apologizing here, but this is not inconsistent with how the league conducts media events. There have been plenty of other times media-relations officials insist on only basketball questions.

Hopefully, the NBA is moving toward becoming more open.