There’s no question that the biggest storyline in the NBA right now involves its current dilemma with China. Well, those issues spilled over into Russell Westbrook and James Harden’s press conference this week.
President Donald Trump gave his thoughts on the NBA on Wednesday, taking shots at Gregg Popovich and Steve Kerr. Warriors guard Steph Curry responded to the President’s comments in the best way he could.
Usually the NBA encourages its athletes to speak out about any ongoing issue. However, the league’s stars have been rather quiet about this situation.
Christina Macfarlane, a journalist from CNN, asked Harden and Westbrook during their media session if they would hesitate to speak out about political and societal issues moving forward. NBA stars have been outspoken on a number of issues, but have remained quiet regarding China. Perhaps the China fiasco will result in the league’s top players and coaches being quiet about other issues in the future.
Macfarlane was immediately shut down by an unidentified spokesperson. She was told that Harden and Westbrook would only answer questions pertaining to basketball.
Here is the exchange between Macfarlane and the Rockets:
Journalist gets quickly shut down when she asked James Harden, Russell Westbrook if they would refrain from speaking out on politics/social justice after China debacle… pic.twitter.com/VkXSWo0N0s
— gifdsports (@gifdsports) October 10, 2019
Harden and Westbrook weren’t the ones to shut down Macfarlane in this situation, so there’s no telling if they would have shed light on the situation.
Nonetheless, the NBA is definitely in a difficult spot right now.
Despite these international issues plaguing the NBA, the Lakers and Nets just finished a preseason game in Shanghai. The question that remains is whether or not the league’s relationship with China is permanently fractured.