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NBA ratings worse than Trump

NBA ratings worse than Trump

It is almost impossible to argue that the Covid-19 Pandemic has hurt President Trump’s popularity.  We can argue how much or how bad, but the virus had had a negative impact on The Don.  But if you want to see folks with worse numbers, check out the folks at the National Basketball Association (NBA) – specifically the Los Angeles Lakers and the Miami Heat.

The Lakers were expected to come out on top in the finals – and they did.   But this commentary is not about the standings or a play-by-play account.  I leave that to the sports pages.

Traditionally, the finals are a must watch for sports fans – but not this time.  And that is a story in itself.

The television viewership of the NBA finals was abysmal – and the reason may be as political as is everything else this election year.  The first game of the series drew an audience of 7.4 million – making it the least watched NBA championship game since 1988.  Game 2 dropped to 6.6 million viewers – the lowest NBA finals audience EVER.

Things could not get worse.  Oh, but they did.  Game 3 viewership dropped to 5.9 million.  Game 4 showed an increase to 7.5 million — which is credited to the Heats win in game 3.  But game 5 went down to 5.7 million viewers –another record low.  And the season ending game 6 languished at 5.6 million viewers.

This was happening despite the fact that the Lakers are one of the nation’s most popular teams and superstar LeBron James is the biggest box office in basketball.  NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is reported to be surprised at the low ratings.  It is even more surprising since fans cannot fill the stadium.  It is television or nothing – and it appears nothing is winning out among a lot of former fans.

But why?

Some argue that it is because the Covid-19 Pandemic has disrupted the schedule.  That could be a factor, but the virus also has kept a lot of folks at home with nothing to do but play video games and watch television.

Then there is that OTHER reason – the one the television folks do not like to talk about in these days of political correctness.  Did the NBA anger fans when they brought politics onto the floor – especially embracing the Black Lives Matter, Inc.?

As a concept of black lives mattering – meaning opposition to racial injustice, where it exists – is broadly accepted among the American public.  But Black Lives Matter, Inc. – the official organization that promotes a version that is anti-white, anti-law enforcement and politically aligned to the radial socials left is quite another thing.

Black lives mattering should not be seen as opposition to blue lives mattering, white lives matter and, indeed, all lives mattering.  The NBA is following in the footsteps of the National Football League that has seen its ratings drop because the League and the owners have allowed their playing fields to become platforms of controversial social and political protest.

There are venues in which we can debate politics and policy, but there are some in which such divisive dialogue should be avoided.  People embrace sports as a respite from the hyperbolic and supercharged rhetoric of political controversy.  Placing politics on center stage in the stadiums is bound to cause an adverse reaction among the general public – especially when the political expression is anti-flag, anti-National Anthem – and promotes tribalism over e pluribus unum.

Even the sports cheerleader, Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, weighed in by criticizing Texas Senator Ted Cruz for saying he was not watching any of the NBA finals.  But Cuban was not supportive of the new political activism in sports, tweeting that “the NBA is engaged in a concerted effort to (1) insult their fans & (2) turn every game into a left-wing political lecture. That’s dumb.”

Players can express their views off the fields and courts, but game time should build a unity with team preferences and arm-chair-coaching should be the only friendly debate.  In short, the NBA and the other sports are getting what they deserve for forgetting what their purpose is.  They have taken their eye off the goal.

So. There “tis.




About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.


  1. Boaz

    I have been involved in sports in one way or another all my life and so have my sons.
    Once the professional sports turned political, especially supporting a hate group, I said that’s it. I had backed of watching football because of
    Kaepernick, but now I have stopped all watching or support of any kind. I have not watched one minute of any Sport since all the politicization started. At first it was hard, that didn’t last long. Now I have more free time away from TV and have found new hobbies that I truly enjoy more than the crap professionals have bought into.

  2. Larry

    I could care less about the NBA and now the NFL. Golf is the sport we watch now. No one in our neighborhood talks about either NBA or NFL. These idiots think they can say and do anything they want and everyone will agree. What recessive genes they have. We now stock up on ammo; have fun at the range shooting guns we haven’t used in years; and ride bikes a lot more. Life is good and I don’t miss the games I watched for so many years. ESPN and Nike, take a hike.

  3. Donald Titus

    I have given up on both the NFL and the NBA. They’re more interested, in their ignorance, in politics than they are in their sport. If I wanted the political opinion of someone who chases a ball around I’d ask a dog!

  4. thomas williams

    I think BLM is a good thing to a point. But when it becomes THE focus of EVERYTHING, then yes we do get tired of the constant hammering away about it. I agree the ALL lives matter. I got my hackles up when Kaepernick started the whole thing, and yes I got indignant about it. But I came around to understanding what he was trying to say. He just chose the WRONG platform to put it on. He needed to do it OUTSIDE of the playing field and not insult the National Anthem. While that may not have been his intent, it certainly raised a lot of ire with many veterans who fought for and served for that anthem, our flag, and our nation. Colin K’s agenda is justified, but it needs a different venue. Yes it has value, and I hope that all of us can come together and work and live and play together in fellowship with our fellow human beings regardless of race, color, or creed.
    As for the lousy ratings for the NBA finals… There is a deeper story to that and other parts of pro sports. We, the fans, are tired to death of seeing the NBA ruled by Los Angeles, Golden State, and Boston. It was a shot in the arm to see the unexpected ascension of the Detroit Pistons in 2004 and the Toronto Raptors a couple years back. But I think we are also sick of the NBA becoming the “L”BA where LeBron rules and whatever he does is more important than the rest of the league. It happened in the Michael Jordan era when MJ could do no wrong and he never fouled anyone and everyone instead fouled him. Same with LeBron. When it was Miami vs. Oklahoma City we saw LeBron bumping and shoving James Harden on one end of the floor with no foul. But on the other end, if James even waved at LeBron it was two shots. At times it seems the NBA has become close to being what the World Wrestling Federation is. Just entertainment, and PLANNED entertainment at that. Favoring one athlete over another, no matter how skilled is nothing short of cheating… And I for one have always hated cheaters. In the Miami/OKC finals, it seemed the NBA was focused completely on making sure LeBron got his ring. “Nuff said”.
    As for other sports, it’s the same thing. Dallas, Dallas, Dallas in the NFL. The temerity of the league to call the Cowboys “America’s Team” is truly galling. I’m an American, and the Dallas Plowboys are NOT my team. God help me, I’m still for some stupid reason if not a fan, at least a follower of the Detroit Lions (on rebuild since 1956 and possessed of the worst ownership in professional sports). With things as they are right now, it’s just annoying to see that everyone in the media, both on the sports pages, the sports channels and shows, and the major networks, are trying to sell us teams in the major market areas. New York City, Los Angeles, Dallas, Miami,… If you are a fan in a small market area such as OKC, you’re basically out of luck. The NBA, NFL, MLB (to a lesser extent), and the NHL want to see the big markets finishing in the finals or at least the semi-finals each year. IT’s good for business.
    And college sports are the same. NCAA football and basketball are confined to certain high-visibility teams such as Alabama, U of Oklahoma, Texas, LSU, Notre Dame, and such. Basketball is Kansas, North Carolina, UCLA, and the like. Every single year, and maybe the fans are just getting tired of it all.
    In NBA, I’m a fan of OKC Thunder. I love watching the team and was in fine fettle as a totally unexpected team became such a factor in the playoffs. Classic Over-Achievers because they got together AS A TEAM and decided to confound the prognosticators by playing AS A TEAM and did an amazing job of keeping us in our seats and rooting for them right down to the last few seconds of Game 7 Vs Houston. God bless Chris Paul for being such an amazing leader in so many ways throughout the season both on the floor and in the NBA Players Association and also in the community, where he was and still is in the forefront of trying to bring us all together toward a common goal. Justice, equality, and seeing things from the other side’s point of view. Hats off to Chris, Billy Donovan, and all the Thunder players for making the season worth watching. But, the playoffs…. Same old, Same Old. That’s why the ratings are tanking.

  5. Martin

    For me the Covid-19 Pandemic had nothing to do with me not watching any NBA or NFL games. It was the BLM garbage and the disrespecting of our Veterans, flag and country by kneeling when the National Anthem was played. Until this ends I will not watch or go another game.

  6. Doug Litchfield

    Time for a hall of shame for the players who fell into this fiasco. College basket ball could very well go this way if the NCAA wants to tank itself.

  7. Jerry

    I LOVE IT!!! AND I HOPE, every team goes bankrupt and the NBA is NO MORE, and ALL these overhyped overpaid worthless athletes have to now go WORK for a measly living!!!!!

  8. Tom

    Mark Cuban too the spineless NBA owner won’t say China is a communist rich because of sweatshop, spineless LeBron James big mouth money ball player go home