Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James is the poster child for the modern “woke” athlete.
But this political activism comes at a steep price.
And LeBron James could not believe the bad news he got about his anti-Trump protest.
When the NBA put “Black Lives Matter” on the court and social justice messages on the back of players’ jerseys, the real target of this protest was Donald Trump.
And no player wanted to use the NBA’s platform to protest the President more than LeBron James.
James started a group that offered to pay the fines of black and Hispanic felons in Florida so they could vote for Joe Biden in that key state.
And James was one of the biggest names pushing NBA owners to open their arenas as polling places for Election Day.
But this activism came at a price for the NBA.
Game Six of the NBA finals where the Lakers clinched the championship over the Miami Heat drew a paltry six million viewers which represented a nearly 70 percent drop from last year’s Game Six between the Toronto Raptors and the Golden State Warriors.
On a night when the NBA broadcast its most important game, you would think that the league would own the night. That, once again, turned out to not be the case.
The viewership numbers for the sixth and final game of the NBA Finals are in, and they are atrocious. Game 6 drew, at its peak, 6.028 million viewers. To put that in perspective, Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals, which included a team from Canada and did not include LeBron James, drew 18.34 million viewers.
Those figures represent a 66 percent drop.
To put that in perspective, last year’s rating featured a team from Canada which is not figured in the ratings as what usually juices the ratings numbers are massive spikes in the two markets where the teams in the finals play.
This year’s finals had the league’s marquee franchise and the sport’s biggest name.
And fans tuned out in protest.
The message was simple: just play basketball and leave the politics aside.
Sports with Balls will keep you up-to-date about any developments to this ongoing story.