But criticizing China is a different story. As a result of Morey’s tweet, the Rockets—who have been highly visible in China ever since they drafted the Chinese basketball legend Yao Ming in 2002 —lost many of their sponsors from China and are banned from being shown in the country. The Chinese Basketball Association, the high-profile league that Yao now leads, is suspending its relationship with the Rockets. Morey has since backpedaled. For the NBA, smoothing things over with Chinese officials means capitulating in a way that compromises the values it regularly espouses—values that have endeared the league to many of its fans in America.
The league put out an abject statement on Sunday that read: “We recognize that the views expressed by Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey have deeply offended many of our friends and fans in China, which is regrettable. While Daryl has made it clear that his tweet does not represent the Rockets or the NBA, the values of the league support individuals’ educ