Speed Reads

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A reporter asked James Harden and Russell Westbrook about the NBA's China debacle. She was swiftly shut down.

The NBA's Hong Kong debacle is quickly spiraling.

Ever since Houston Rockets manager Daryl Morey got himself into hot water with the basketball league for supporting the anti-Beijing protest movement in Hong Kong, the NBA has been at the center of a debate over whether a U.S. company should kowtow to Beijing's politics to protect business interests. Two 76ers fans were reportedly kicked out of a preseason NBA game in Philadelphia for holding "Free Hong Kong" signs, and ESPN executives are reportedly discouraging network staffers from talking politics when covering the story.

The apparent hope to quash the controversy extended on Thursday, when CNN reporter Christina Macfarlane asked Rockets stars James Harden and Russell Westbrook whether the situation and fallout had changed their thoughts about speaking freely on political issues. Macfarlane was quickly shut down, and the players did not answer her question, which she insisted was "legitimate" after an event organizer told her it was out of line. Watch the moment below. Summer Meza