Phil Jackson is perhaps the greatest coach in NBA history. Jackson, a Hall of Famer and 11-time champion knows a thing or two about the league, so when he makes an observation, one would think people would listen. Perhaps many do. Don’t count former star turned analyst Jalen Rose amongst them.
Recently Phil Jackson had the audacity to voice an opinion about the NBA and point out exactly what the sagging ratings have reflected; people are tired of the politics and wokeness.
Jackson claims the league has been catering to a “certain audience” since 2020, and the politics have gotten so pervasive that he doesn’t even watch anymore. His experience and opinion doesn’t sit well with Rose, and the analyst had this to say: “You can’t make this up.” “Hall of Fame coach and 11-time champion Phil Jackson claims to have stopped supporting the NBA because it became ‘too political’ when it went into the bubble and was catering to certain audiences by putting slogans on the back of jerseys and Black Lives Matter on the floor,” Rose said. “The same Phil Jackson that won championships with some of the greatest Black athletes in the history of the game – Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant. Made millions on their backs and off their sweat equity.”
Everyone is entitled to their opinion, even Phil Jackson. However, Rose is wrong to imply Jackson would’t have had the success he had without riding on the backs of black athletes like Jordan and Shaq. Phil Jackson won two titles as a player during his 12-year NBA career. He also was the architect behind some of the greatest teams in NBA history. Jackson was able to make personalities like Shaq and Kobe work together, and Rodman, Pippen, and Jordan as well.
Phil Jackson, widely seen as the greatest coach in NBA history, says he doesn’t watch the NBA anymore because of all the political slogans introduced in 2020. He’s not alone in this. My oldest daughter and I used to love watching but it got too political to watch. pic.twitter.com/bV6Sb0qvrK
— Robby Starbuck (@robbystarbuck) April 22, 2023
Chemistry and coaching are as vital as the talent on the floor. Without someone to mold the clay, you might have the most talented lump of clay in the world, but it is still just clay. Jackson was a genius strategically, and a mentor off the court.
It should also be noted that the players mentioned weren’t playing for minimum wage either, so the “master/slave” inference Jackson is making is offensive at best and downright racist at worst.
When discussing the 2020 pandemic season, Jackson was specifically referring to the BLM logos on the court and the cliche slogans on the backs of the players jerseys. Players that live in gated communities, with 24-hour security details and millions in their bank accounts were complaining about equity, and opportunity.
Jackson said this about 2020: “All the teams that could qualify went down there and stayed down there, no audience, and they had things on their back like ‘Justice’ and a funny thing happened,” Jackson said. “They made a funny thing like, ‘Justice just went to the basket and Equal Opportunity just knocked him down.’ My grandkids thought that was pretty funny to play up those names. I couldn’t watch that.”
“It was trying to cater to an audience or trying to bring a certain audience to the game, and they didn’t know it was turning other people off,” Jackson said. “People want to see sports as non-political. Politics stays out of the game. It doesn’t need to be there.”
This isn’t simply Phil Jackson shaking his fist on his lawn. The ratings prove he is right. The NBA basically hasn’t recovered, while other leagues like the NFL and MLB have rebounded after eschewing the mostly false narratives of the disastrous Summer of 2020.
Jalen Rose gave some unintended advice that many have followed: “You’re sitting there watching the game with your grandkids and y’all think it’s funny when justice passes the ball to equal opportunity,” he continued. “When somebody shows you who they are, believe them. So, stop watching … forever.”
Sounds like a good plan, Jalen. At least until the league self corrects with the politics. Oh, and starts calling fouls and not allowing six steps on every drive. I will be back then.
"*" indicates required fields