Thomas Gallatin / October 9, 2020

Woke NBA Finals Going for Broke

Viewership is down a whopping 70% thanks to the league’s embrace of BLM.

The National Basketball Association has quickly become the poster child for the adage “get woke, go broke.” For those who don’t know — which, judging by its ever-shrinking audience, is a lot of folks — the NBA is in the midst of its championship finals, being played between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Miami Heat. If the Lakers win Friday night, the game will be the final one played this season. Black Lives Matter activist LeBron James will have secured his fourth NBA title while at the same time helping to set the dubious record for the least-watched championship in league history.

This year’s NBA Finals have seen a whopping 70% drop in TV audience from last season. Just over five million fans tuned in to watched Game 3. What makes this low number even more significant is the fact that in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, when so many folks are stuck at home with more time to watch TV, the NBA has only lost viewers.

No professional sport has embraced the Marxist BLM movement more than the NBA. With BLM painted on the courts and “social justice” messaging emblazoned across players’ jerseys, the NBA and the majority of its players (300 of the league’s 350 players have chosen to wear jerseys sporting “social justice” messaging) made it clear that they would not play without forcing their leftist politics down viewers’ throats. And it appears that a majority of the NBA’s now-former fans have in turn bid the league’s overpaid wokescolds adieu.

While the NBA brass had sought to downplay the massive drop in viewership, owners have hit the panic button, as indicated by Commissioner Adam Silver’s recent comments tentatively conceding that the woke BLM displays were on their way out. “I would say, in terms of the messaging you see on the court and our jerseys,” he explained, “this was an extraordinary moment in time when we began these discussions with the players and what we all lived through this summer. My sense is there’ll be somewhat of a return to normalcy, that those messages will largely be left to be delivered off the floor.” If he and the players want the league to continue to exist, they’d better get off their hypocritical and blatantly false high horse and focus on just playing basketball.

The vast majority of Americans don’t want politics shoved in their faces as they watch sports. Silver may have finally gotten the message, admitting, “I understand those people who are saying, ‘I’m on your side, but I want to watch a basketball game.’” Yes, “those people” appear to make up the lion’s share of sports fans.

Update: Game 5, which did not turn out to be the final game, garnered just 5.7 million viewers versus last year’s Game 5, which had 18.22 million. On the other hand, Chinese state television began showing the games, so the NBA’s kowtowing to the ChiComs paid off.

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