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Adam Silver, Mark Cuban, and Stephen A. Smith are likely crying today because the NBA’s most famous team and player were bounced in the first round of the playoffs Thursday night.
Conventional wisdom says that losing the Lakers and LeBron James should hurt the interest in the NBA Playoffs and Finals, but I’m not so sure.
The NBA is bleeding viewers, setting more all-time lows than award shows, losing to old guys playing golf, and has a trajectory worse than CNN’s. Among the many reasons for the NBA’s embarrassing decline is its decision to go Joy Reid-radical and treating Chairman Xi like he’s Tony Soprano, both of which were initiated by LeBron James.
LeBron’s anger rose to its highest level in October 2019, when then-Rockets GM Daryl Morey said people in Hong Kong should have human rights. (What a thing to say!) LeBron told Morey to shut up, push his pen, and never dare speak a negative word about the Chinese Communist Party again.
Suddenly, the NBA began to tank.
Since 2019, 25% of the NBA’s audience vanished, eventually leading to a record-low Finals in 2020 that featured LeBron.
Perhaps it’s too late. Maybe viewers have turned in their NBA fan cards and won’t ever pick them back up again. Speaking for myself, I’m more inclined to watch the playoffs now that the pampered, soon-to-be billionaire is bounced. I bet others are too.
Even in the playoff games that didn’t feature the Lakers, I found it hard to invest myself in a tournament so focused on a man who used his 50 million Twitter followers to endanger the life of a heroic police officer because he didn’t like the officer’s white skin color.
To put into context just how damaging LeBron is off the court, he literally told his most dedicated followers that police are waking up in the morning to hunt black people like deer. That’s a lie. Either LeBron knows that and is a liar, or is too ignorant to do an ounce of research. Honestly, I’m not sure which is worse or more likely.
That dangerous, hateful messages LeBron repeatedly sends to young Americans is reason enough for households to shut off any playoff tournament featuring LeBron. And if you look at the numbers over the past two seasons, you’ll see that they have done just that.
And as if his off-the-court antics weren’t bad enough, LeBron is nearly unbearable to watch on the court these days. After every layup, made or missed, he complains he is fouled. He speaks to the refs like he’s their boss. And when LeBron’s team is down, sometimes because of his missed free throws, his body language emotes an annoyed, second-grade soccer player.
When LeBron’s not busy getting players traded and coaches fired, he can be found quitting on his teammates in an elimination game:
Who wants to watch someone like that?
When LeBron James wins a game, he waits for the losing players to line up and show him their respects. Immediately after last night’s loss, LeBron ran back to the locker room with his head down, refusing to shake the winners’ hands:
— Bobby Burack (@burackbobby_) June 4, 2021
Now that the attention-seeking propagandist is gone, other stars in the NBA can shine. Trae Young is the villain the NBA wants and needs. The Nets’ Big 3 are the new NWO. Luka Doncic is special. And Nikola Jokić’s dad-bod may help some guys feel more comfortable watching sports.
Will Americans go out of their way to watch the Nuggets? No, but they won’t turn a game off because of Jokić like they would with LeBron. Jokić isn’t hateful.
Donovan Mitchell and Giannis Antetokounmpo don’t move the needle much. However, they don’t move the needle below the base either, which LeBron often does. Therefore, the upcoming Jazz and Nuggets series may be worth putting on in the background while your buddies come over for BBQ.
It’s fair to assume at least a small percentage of the millions of fans that LeBron and the NBA have lost may tune back in, no?
LeBron once accurately branded himself as more than an athlete. However, he misled the country on the word more. Though he’d like you to believe that he’s an activist who is fighting for justice, he’s actually just a useful stooge who is motivated by cash.
Let’s ask the OutKick readers to sound off in the comment section: With the Fraud out of the playoffs, are you more or less likely to watch a playoff or Finals game?
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