Clay: NBA’s Brand Is Broken With Its Own Fans

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Part of the NBA’s issues with fan behavior belongs squarely on the shoulders of the NBA itself, OutKick founder Clay Travis said.

Clay was referring to the four separate incidents involving fans and players, all taking place just since the playoffs began. A fifth occurred Monday night when a fan ran onto the court during the Wizards-76ers playoff game at Capitol One Arena.

“Could this fan misbehavior be connected to the broken relationship between the NBA & its fans, creating more animosity & less goodwill across the league? I think so,” Clay tweeted, encouraging readers to share and debate their own thoughts.

He wasn’t finished, turning to the past to show how much the present has changed.

“The NBA’s primary selling point in the 1990’s was great relationship between players & fans. Remember ‘NBA action is FANtastic’ commercials? Now players lecture fans on how awful of human beings they are,” Clay wrote. “League’s brand is broken with fans, which creates animosity. Major issue.”

It’s pretty clear that something is going on here. It’s to the point where a new incident of fan misbehavior is taking place every night. Could it be because the fans really do have more animosity toward the players after the players, coaches and league’s elite openly took a political stance, casting aside those who didn’t agree?

Given all that’s happened since the playoffs tipped off, it’s worth considering.

Written by Sam Amico

Sam Amico spent 15 years covering the NBA for Sports Illustrated, FOX Sports and, along with a few other spots, and currently runs his own basketball website on the side,


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  1. I’ve been a basketball fan my whole life. But I can’t watch nba anymore. Jordan drew people in. Lebron pushes fans away. It’s not just him tho. Stupid Political statements on the court. Superstars needing rest days every other game. I mean If the players don’t care about the regular season, why should the fans?

    I’ll stick with college basketball. It’s just a better product

  2. Karma.
    Or as LeMoron would say, “You’re next”.

    The NBA, the millionaire cry babies, the know-it-all coaches. The holier than thou art management scum can all go to hell and stay there. Their league is dead to me.

  3. Not sure I agree on this one. Anyone still paying money to go to these games probably isnt offended by the politics of the league or players. I do think social media has exacerbated the problem. If the NBA were smart (which we know they are not) they would ban these idiot players from tweeting anything related to fans or other teams or the league in general. Durant dropping n bombs, Irving accusing the fan base of being Klan members, and Lebron James saying anything ever is not a great outreach strategy.

  4. Being “a sports fan” is an arbitrary decision for each individual. There is nothing mandatory about it whether attending “games” or watching them on TV. It is passive entertainment. When it ceases being “entertaining” why do it ???. … Unless one is a masochist.

    I “used to be” a fan of all the traditional spectator sports in season. I’m not any more. There was not a defining moment. It was a habit not an addiction.

  5. Don’t agree with Clay’s take here. The league and its players embrace lawlessness and disrespect for authority. That stance gives a green light to this sort of behavior.

    Either that or the games are so incredibly boring something needs to be done in those arenas to generate excitement.

  6. The NBA lost a large segment of their audience- the dads who stand for the anthem and were the law and order type guys. They now have an arena filled with the BLM antifa supporters who think nothing of kneeling for the anthem- and feel empowered to do whatever they want over the last 18 months ……..fact that the NBA has lost 85% of its audience and now I can barely pull 2 million viewers it’s something that has led to an arena filled with a different demo

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