The National Basketball Association playoffs have tipped off with aging superstar LeBron James running out of chances to add another title to his resume to stake his claim as the greatest ever, even better than the great Michael Jordan, but one legendary coach won’t be tuning in to the action due to the league’s addiction to “woke” leftist politics.
Phil Jackson, who coached his teams to an astounding 11 NBA championships, including six with Jordan’s great Chicago Bulls teams, said that he no longer has much interest in the game at the professional level because it’s become far too political in recent years.
The 77-year-old legend who during his time behind the bench with the Bulls and the Los Angeles Lakers surpassed the previous record of nine titles held by the iconic Boston Celtics head coach Arnold “Red” Auerbach appeared on Rick Rubin’s “Tetragrammaton” podcast earlier this month with his provocative remarks only now drawing attention from the media.
According to Jackson, he hasn’t tuned into an NBA game since the summer of 2020 when race riots raged across the nation after the unfortunate death of career criminal and drug addict George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police and sports leagues lined behind the militant Black Lives Matter movement, none more so than King James’ NBA.
“No. I don’t,” Jackson responded when asked if he’s been watching a lot of basketball these days.
Phil Jackson says he doesn’t like basketball’s evolution & doesn’t watch anymore, thought the Bubble & political slogans on jerseys was “wanky” and made fun of it with his grandchildren
was listening to his new interview with Rick Rubin & thought it was interesting. pic.twitter.com/FVBpdnuCFj
— Clique Productions (@ImClique_) April 20, 2023
“I watched the game evolve and decided…they went into the lockout year and did something that was kind of wanky,” he continued. “They did a bubble down in Orlando and all the teams that could qualify went down there and stayed down there,” referring to the weird playoff year after the NBA returned for the postseason after months off due to COVID.
“And they had things on their back like ‘Justice’ and I mean a little funny thing, like you know ‘Justice just went to the basket and Equal Opportunity just knocked him down,'” he said, mocking the social justice warrior slogans that players had displayed in place of their last names on the backs of their jerseys. “And ah, somebody had another name for a guy who has jersey in the back, his jersey had some other slogan, so my grandkids thought it was pretty funny to play up those names. So, I couldn’t watch that.”
(Video: YouTube/Good Morning America)
“The Lakers won actually, they won that year,” he said of LeBron’s fourth title, one that some believe should have an asterisk next to due to the bizarre bubble situation. ”
“Do you feel like it just made little of the game?” Rubin asked. “Like it made it like a sideshow, what do think it was that turned you off?”
“It was.. it was… they even had slogans on the floor on the baseline,” Jackson replied. “It was catering, it was trying to cater to an audience, they were trying to bring a certain audience into play, and they didn’t know it was turning other people off you know, people want to see sports as non-political.”
“You know, we’ve had a lot of different types of players that have gone on to be.. like, you know, Bill Bradley was a senator,” he added, referring to his former New York Knicks teammate who won two titles as a player, ” a number of baseball players have been representatives and senators and political, but their politics stay out of the game.”
It was truly a different era when NBA players avoided taking political sides that could alienate fans, Jordan, who in addition to being an all-world player, had a nice side gig as an athletic sneaker pitchman, once famously quipped that “Republicans buy sneakers, too” when pressed as to why he didn’t endorse the candidate in a contentious senate race in his home state of North Carolina.
Today, it’s a whole different ballgame with the surly, inarticulate, self-styled philosopher LeBron popping off about virtually every political issue, especially when it comes to issues of race and there can be no argument that the NBA’s ratings have been an unmitigated disaster since he became the league’s star attraction, a far cry from the days of M.J., Magic and Larry Bird when the league drew a massive television audience and its slogan was Fan-tastic.
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