The NBA is having a serious crisis moment.
The Finals just concluded and nobody was watching.
And one famous sports broadcaster told the NBA how they destroyed their business in four words.
Bob Costas has covered a variety of sports for several decades, mostly on NBC.
He, like others, has taken note of the NBA’s historic implosion in such a short amount of time.
The decisive game six of the NBA Finals between the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat only drew 6 million viewers, a near 70% drop from last year’s game six between the Toronto Raptors and Golden State Warriors.
And Costas has a clear reason why.
In an interview with Outkick, Costas said:
“It doesn’t matter where you fall on the political spectrum . . . it’s just a fact that there is alienation over having this (social justice messaging) thrust in everyone’s face every time you just want to watch a game. I’m not saying that to take a stand; that’s just the reality. This is also a business.’’
Costas is 100% correct.
Fans don’t want to be lectured to about politics when they’re looking for a distraction, especially not from athletes who are almost universally ill-informed on politics.
A recent study showed that only 20% of NBA players are registered to vote, so it’s unlikely they’re well-versed on a number of issues.
“But another question I think is relevant is this: If you’re going to permit social justice messages – which I am not opposed to – let’s look at this with a clear eye (and not say) which of these messages we agree and disagree with.’’
Costas again makes a good point.
NBA players were given a list of messages they were allowed to wear on their jerseys, and all of them had a left-wing bias.
Pre-approved slogans included “Black Lives Matter,” “Education Reform,” and “Group Economics.”
Nobody was allowed to wear “Don’t Tread on Me,” “Choose Life,” or “Make America Great Again” on their jerseys.
More controversially, “Free Hong Kong” was initially barred from being printed on custom jerseys at the NBA Store.
Costas believes that the NBA needs to get back to being about basketball and not political advocacy.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has already suggested the social justice messaging will not continue next season, but the league has already dug themselves a deep hole.
Now the NBA is learning the hard way: Get woke, go broke.