Befitting a Ripley’s Believe It Or Not entry, Time magazine included the fast-fading National Basketball Association in its list of the 100 most influential companies. Didn't get the memo, Time? This is a company in public approval freefall.
Nonetheless, Commissioner Adam Silver embarrassingly tried to tap dance around the league’s misery index during the accompanying interview with Time.
What criteria could Time possibly use to select the NBA for its most influential list? It’s companies that are “shaping our future” and “making an extraordinary impact around the world.” The league is shaping fewer and fewer television viewing futures outside of communist China, who's human rights abuses the NBA is eager to ignore.
NBA television ratings for the championship finals have fallen precipitously the last two decades. Game 3 of the 2020 finals had the lowest rating ever for an NBA Finals game (5.94 million). That’s only 16.5 percent of the best-rated finals game, in 1998 (35.89 million).
The wokeball league has a -5 percent favorability rating with Republicans. Obscure TV programs like “My 600-pound Life” are frequently drawing more viewers than the NBA. All courtesy of its infatuation with social justice preening.
Time asked Silver to comment on the league’s embrace of social justice movements, particularly Black Lives Matter. He said he hears the criticism, but he has no data linking this to the decline in popularity.
Instead, "Don Quixote" Silver believes “there may have been a segment of our fanbase that became additionally engaged with the league as a result of the positions our players were espousing.” They're just not watching the games?
Silver also tried to blame the 2020 Finals TV ratings embarrassment on a young fanbase and viewers not being accustomed to watching basketball in October. Nice, feeble try.
Then came three big questions about China. Silver did some fancy tap-dancing around his league’s prioritizing profits from China over human right abuses in that evil communist regime. The income from hundreds of millions of Chinese people paying to watch the NBA talks. Conscience over the nation's crimes against humanity walks.
Time: “What’s the state of the NBA’s relationship with China?”
Silver said the NBA’s mission “is to improve people’s lives through the game of basketball. And we think exporting NBA basketball to China and to virtually every country in the world continues to fit within our mission.” A boycott won’t bring global change, and “Working with the Chinese solely on NBA basketball has been a net plus for building relationships between two superpowers.” What kind of IQ is recommended for the position of NBA commissioner?
Not convinced, the interviewer took the NBA’s China problem further. “But what about basketball will help China change their ways on human rights? Is that too Pollyannaish?” Queue up the tap-dancing commissioner once more.
Building relationships and loving a sport should do the job, Silver remarked, assuming people are idiots.
Not satisfied with that pathetic answer, Time pressed harder. “How do you respond to the criticism that the NBA and its players are outspoken about BLM and police violence, but don’t talk about human rights abuses in China?”
Geography out-weighs China’s slave labor scandal. “My response there is that we and our players speak about issues that are closest to home. “Our players have the absolute freedom to speak off the floor about any issue they want. I think it was a unique set of circumstances that led us to talk about Black Lives Matter over the course of last summer.”
Thank you, commissioner, for confirming the NBA couldn’t care less about China’s brutal oppression, as long as the big money pipeline is flowing. It’s your dumpster fire.