Is the NBA Going the Way of Bud Light?

AP Photo/Rick Bowmer

Over the past several months, we’ve seen corporations take big financial hits for embracing wokeness. Disney took a massive blow to the bottom line after going woke, while Target and Ben & Jerry’s have seen their market values tumble following far-left stands. But the, umm, gold standard for the “go woke go broke” model is Bud Light, whose fortunes continue to tumble after it partnered with Dylan Mulvaney for a marketing stunt.


The sports world is notorious for embracing wokeness in recent years as well. Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League have recently been under fire for pride month antics, and let’s not forget how MLB moved the All-Star Game from Atlanta based on lies about Georgia’s voter integrity law.

But the godfather of wokeness in both sports and business is the National Basketball Association (NBA). The NBA embraced wokeness when embracing wokeness wasn’t cool, and Outkick’s Clay Travis asserts that the NBA’s downward slide over the past few years is a slow-burn version of what’s happening with corporations like Bud Light.

Last month, Travis outlined the dips in the NBA’s fortunes over the past few years.

Travis writes that “this past season’s five-game NBA Finals averaged just 11.64 million viewers, one of the lowest audiences on record and a continuation of the NBA’s collapsing ratings. Indeed, four of the five lowest-rated NBA Finals of the past 30 years have occurred in the past four years. (12.4 million viewers in 2022, 9.91 million viewers in 2021, 7.45 million viewers in 2020.)”


“How did this happen? How in the space of a generation did the NBA, which created tens of millions of monster fans in the Jordan era, lose so many viewers?” Travis asks. “And why has this story not been told before? Why do so many of you have no idea this has happened at all? Because the sports media won’t admit what’s clear — many basketball fans stopped watching the NBA over the past several years.”

Related: Celebrate Good Times, Come On! Patriotic Boycotts Cost Woke Corporations $28 BILLION In Market Value

Travis contrasts the leadership of David Stern, who was the commissioner of the NBA during the league’s ’90s heyday, with that of Adam Silver, the current commissioner. In his view, Stern “did everything he could to build the largest fan base possible,” while Silver “let politics guide him instead of the game itself.”

Silver began the NBA’s embrace of wokeness when he forced Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling to sell the team over private remarks Sterling made that someone construed as racist. It was one of Silver’s first moves as commissioner, so you might call him an early adopter of cancel culture.


Just a few years later, Silver moved the NBA’s All-Star Game from Charlotte, N.C., after the Tarheel State passed a law mandating that transgender people use the bathroom that corresponds to their biological gender. And don’t forget how heavily the NBA embraced Black Lives Matter in 2020, all while turning a blind eye to China’s abysmal human rights record.

Travis points out that, despite the league’s embrace of radicalism at any cost, “Silver was universally praised by the boot-licking NBA media, they couldn’t get enough of his left-wing, woke politics.”

There’s also an obvious comparison between the NBA’s biggest star under Stern’s tenure, Michael Jordan, with the league’s current phenom, LeBron James. While Jordan has largely steered clear of politics, once remarking that “I never thought of myself as an activist. I thought of myself as a basketball player,” James hasn’t kept his mouth shut when it comes to wokeness.

“As the NBA has embraced woke politics, most notably in 2020, the NBA’s audience has collapsed even as, significantly, the audience for college basketball, both women’s and men’s, and the Super Bowl has set all-time highs,” Travis writes.


Yet you’ll never hear sports media lament the decline of the NBA or question why it’s happening. After all, sports media outlets are in full agreement with the wokes at the NBA, and as long as these leagues can virtue-signal, why ask the difficult questions?


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