The ratings are in for this year’s NBA final, and the news isn’t good. What should have been a much anticipated final featuring the best player in basketball in Nikola Jokic, and up-and-coming stars like Jamal Murray and Aaron Gordon, instead turned into a ratings debacle that is likely to leave the suits in the NBA front office scratching their heads and wondering what happened.
However, they need only ask the average, everyday NBA fan, and they likely can come up with the answer immediately. Go woke, go broke. Indeed, since the watershed decision by the NBA in 2020 to go full-tilt woke after the George Floyd incident, the league’s ratings have tanked, and they show no signs of rebounding, pun intended.
In 2020, the league adorned the court with political propaganda, and even allowed the players to choose a different name or social justice message on the backs of their jerseys. Often these names were of black people killed by police while in the commission of a crime. What they thought was social posturing turned out to be a damaging blow to the brand.
The NBA has gone FULL woke and the Finals ratings are SUFFERING because of it 🔥
Nuggets vs. Heat draws one of the lowest ratings for a Finals series in THIRTY years.
Go woke, go broke.https://t.co/jFHS8xvzdI
— OutKick (@Outkick) June 15, 2023
It also didn’t help that the biggest name in the game, LeBron James, was going on social media and expressing the ridiculous notion that he was being hunted every time he left the house. The viewing public just wanted basketball and was having none of it.
This year’s final averaged a paltry 11.6 million viewers, which is the fourth-lowest total in eleven years. Would it have helped if the powerhouse Nuggets had been playing a better team like Boston? Probably not, but since the league seemed to be giving the assist to the Heat, we will never know.
The NBA Finals stand in stark contrast to other sporting events. Even during the horribly one-sided college national championship game between Georgia and TCU, the broadcast still garnered 17.2 million viewers.
The NBA has problems on every level. They are the most woke of all the professional sports leagues, and the face of the league, Lebron, openly embraces China as does the league in general. While lecturing Americans about civil rights violations and human rights, the NBA was accepting truckloads of cash and making apologies for a Communist regime. Americans noticed.
The league itself also has problems on the court. The players are given far too much control over the teams. Star players regularly take games off in the name of “load management,” and many players do not give maximum effort until the playoffs. During the course of an 82-game season, that makes for some ragged, uninspired play. Considering the inflated cost of tickets, many fans have stopped showing up.
Off the court, the lack of personality is noticeable. LeBron is still showing up everywhere, but fans have soured on him in recent years, Nikola Jokic is in a small market and mostly eschews the spotlight, and Ja Morant, the star player for the Memphis Grizzlies, is a stunning talent that’s a joy to watch, but he can’t seem NOT to flash guns on social media. The most recent incident cost him the first 25 games of the next season.
Looking at the big picture, the league needs top-down change, a change in the salary structure to take power away, to a degree, from the players, and a hard reset on the woke virtue-signaling. Even then, it will take years to lure people back, but they have to start somewhere.
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