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Breitbart
Breitbart
22 Apr 2023
Dylan Gwinn


NextImg:NBA Legend Phil Jackson Thinks the NBA Has Become Too Political, Hasn't Watched Since 2020

NBA Hall of Fame head coach Phil Jackson says he has not watched the NBA since the league allowed players to put “wanky” political messaging on their jerseys during the 2020 season.

During an appearance on the podcast Tetragrammaton with Rick Rubin, Jackson described the NBA’s decision to turn itself into a BLM platform as “catering” to a certain audience while turning off people who just wanted to watch sports.

“They did something that was kind of wanky, they did a bubble down in Orlando and all the teams that could qualify went down there and stayed down there,” he said. “And they had things on their back like, ‘Justice.’ They made a funny thing like, ‘Justice just went to the basket and Equal Opportunity just knocked him down.’ … So my grandkids thought that was pretty funny to play up those names. So I couldn’t watch that.”

Head coach Phil Jackson of the Los Angeles Lakers looks on in the first quarter of Game Four of the Western Conference Finals against the Phoenix...

Head coach Phil Jackson of the Los Angeles Lakers looks on in the first quarter of Game Four of the Western Conference Finals against the Phoenix Suns during the 2010 NBA Playoffs at US Airways Center on May 25, 2010, in Phoenix, Arizona. (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Jackson continued, “It was catering, trying to cater to an audience or trying to bring a certain audience into play,” he said. “They didn’t know it was turning other people off. People want to see sports as non-political.”

Political slogans, in addition to anthem protesting, were rampant during the 2020 season. Dozens of players adopted political slogans, such as Black Lives Matter, Justice, and other messages, to advocate for social justice causes. However, LeBron James did not put a slogan on his jersey but was front and center for all the on-court anthem protests before the Lakers took the floor.

Los Angeles Lakers vs Miami Heat, 2020 NBA Finals

Los Angeles Lakers LeBron James (C) with teammates down on one knee and arms interlocked during the anthem before the game vs. Miami Heat at AdventHealth Arena. Game 3. Orlando, FL 10/4/2020. (David E. Klutho/Sports Illustrated via Getty Images)

Jackson retired from coaching in 2016 after winning 11 championships — five with the Lakers and six with the Chicago Bulls.