While the NBA continues to be one of the biggest advocates of social justice, there will be no more Black Lives Matter messages on the courts next season.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver announced the decision on ESPN’s NBA Countdown on Tuesday evening prior to Game 4 of the NBA Finals between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Miami Heat. He acknowledged the affirmations of their Black Lives Matter initiatives but recognized also the need to refocus on the action.
”My sense is there’ll be somewhat a return to normalcy, that those messages will largely be left to be delivered off the floor, and I understand those people who are saying ‘I’m on your side, but I want to watch a basketball game.”’
Curiously, Silver’s remarks came on the heels of reports that this year’s Last Dance drew the lowest TV ratings in the history of the NBA Finals. The first three games only averaged a 3.6 rating and 6.65 million viewers. In comparison, last year’s matchup between the Toronto Raptors and the Golden State Warriors had an average rating of 8.8 and more than 15 million viewers.
The NBA supported the Black Lives Matter movement and other related causes following the furor over the death of George Floyd, which led to riots across the nation. Superstars like LeBron James, Chris Paul, Donovan Mitchell, and Jaylen Brown became more vocal, using social justice as a collective battle-cry.
The 58-year-old Silver has repeatedly said he fully supports the advocacy of the players.
”It’s part of the DNA of this league. How it gets manifested is something we’re going to have to sit down with the players and discuss for next season.”
The NBA is looking to begin the new season as early as January.
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