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Let’s start this article with a simple exercise.
For readers with two working eyes and a brain: does the graph below spell out GOOD or BAD ratings for the NBA from 2020 to 2023? …
Well, the sports media won’t point that out, and the basis for their cover-up may have to do with the NBA being the most woke of all major American sporting leagues.
See, when the NBA decided to rev up its support for BLM and value the Chinese market over die-hard basketball fans, support began to decline.
The NBA’s failing appeal became evident in their promotion of leftist politics and awkward silence regarding China’s human rights violations.
China is one big wallet for the NBA, so when the CCP says JUMP, the NBA responds with a 40-inch leap.
America is a bad place in the NBA’s messaging, but China is just alright. The hypocrisy was too much for some viewers, so they decided to ditch the league.
Most recently, the 2022-23 NBA Finals averaged 11.6 million viewers — the league’s fourth-lowest total in the last 30 years.
The NBA has seen four of its five lowest-rated NBA Finals since their hyper-woke turn in 2020.
The mainstream media and NBA personnel will go to the grave thinking it’s all a coincidence and attack any outlet willing to speak up against the declining audience numbers.
OutKick founder Clay Travis explained why in his latest piece examining the woke NBA …
… but that didn’t sit well with Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.
Travis and Cuban got into another online spat on Thursday after Travis called out Cuban and the NBA for failing to address the league’s problem with woke.
Previously, Cuban tried to vouch for Disney, claiming that its failing stock has nothing to do with its progressive agendas inserted in children’s content. He waltzed into Clay’s mentions on Twitter, claiming “conservative media” is also a failing industry.
Cuban is saying that the NBA doesn’t struggle with woke and tried to call out A.M. RADIO LISTENERS (the most innocent demo in America) in his defense.
Way to miss the mark, Cuban.
Here’s the Thread In A Nutshell:
Clay Travis: “Hey [Mark Cuban], you love hopping in my mentions. Why did the NFL set an all time viewership record this year — as did NCAA men’s & women’s basketball — but the NBA peaked 25 years ago in viewership? Look forward to hearing your analysis.”
Mark Cuban: Probably because the NFL is more popular than us. But our ratings were up as well. Let me ask you 2 questions.
1. Why was the NBA more watched than every other TV show on tv, particularly in the young demos and the most popular on social media? 2. What happens to your show when AM radio is taken out of all cars and trucks ?
Clay Travis: 1. False. NBA Finals ratings are at thirty year lows. The data doesn’t lie. NBA ratings peaked 25 years ago. Meanwhile NFL, CFB, & men’s and women’s basketball continue to set record highs.
2. Audio evolves. We get 15 million+ podcast downloads a month.
3. Social media impressions are mostly bullshit and likely, in my opinion, detract from the popularity of actual NBA games. I think they’re a substitute rather than a supplement for true fandom. Otherwise NBA ratings wouldn’t be collapsing and you’d be crushing the NFL, which is far less popular on social media, instead of getting crushed.
But while you’re here, let me ask you a question too, Mark Cuban, should Chinese people have basic human rights. I think they should. Do you? Why will the NBA speak out so aggressively on, say, North Carolina bathroom bills and say nothing about China all while pocketing their billions? Shouldn’t basic human rights be a non-negotiable issue for a global brand like the NBA?
Mark Cuban: So what you are saying is that the NBA is by far the most popular sport ? We agree! All people deserve human rights Clay, in all countries.
Clay Travis : So you disagree with the Chinese communist party putting their people in concentration camps and denying their people basic human rights? We agree! Why not have the NBA issue that statement? And if the NBA won’t, why not have the Dallas Mavericks issue that statement? I’d be hugely supportive. So would most Americans of all political persuasions.
Cuban tried to put the woke onus on boilerplate diversity rules from parent company FOX to dodge answering for the NBA’s kowtow to China.
And it set Clay up for the slam-dunk tweet of the day.
Clay responded, “I can’t imagine being a billionaire and still being afraid to say what I actually think because I’m worried about what communist dictators might think of me. What’s the point of having f**k you money if you’re too much of a bitch to even say f**k you to China?”
So there you have it: Clay’s calling the balls and strikes while Cuban skirts around the NBA’s unease with China and going woke.
Clay followed up, “Mark, you’re a billionaire who refuses to stand up to communist China. Bitch is a kind word for you. I hope one day you grow a set of balls. Until then give Chairman Xi my regards next time you guys hang out at the concentration camps.
“And in the meantime, just think about this — you’re more concerned with what words I use in Tweets with you than China denying basic human rights to billions. Keep sucking on that China money tit, Mark, at least we all know you don’t have a gag reflex.”
Perhaps Cuban is right, and audiences LIKE the woke messaging. They were a bit caught up during the Finals series this year and couldn’t find a TV …
If Cuban had one balanced comment to recognize China’s human rights violations, it’d be easy to see him as a figure in the middle and not subject to the CCP’s grip on the league. But as a team owner, Cuban doesn’t want to poke the monster that the NBA has created.
If a simple tweet from former Philadelphia 76ers executive Daryl Morey led to NBA blackouts all over China, imagine what a statement from Cuban standing up against the terrors in Xinjiang can prompt.
Imagine the positive change the NBA can inspire if one of its marquee team owners called out the CCP’s enslavement of millions of Uyghur Muslims or supported the liberties given here in the U.S.
Perhaps one day, an owner with a backbone will stand up.