I skipped most of Game 1 of the NBA Finals.
I can’t take it anymore. The kneeling. Black Lives Matter splashed across the court. The finger-wagging, self-righteous commercials. The “Vote” T-shirts. The silly slogans on the back of the jerseys.
But more than any of that, it’s the LeBron James worship that made me check out. It started in the last five minutes of the Western Conference Finals. I turned my TV off.
I tried to re-engage Wednesday night. LeBron James vs. the Miami Heat is interesting. Pat Riley’s system vs. James and Anthony Davis. That’s a fascinating dichotomy.
And then one player, Heat reserve Meyers Leonard, stood for the national anthem. One player had the balls to disagree with the groupthink. One player. A player unlikely to take the court.
Basketball is my first love. My dad used to take me and my brother to the Indianapolis Fairgrounds to see the Indiana Pacers play in the ABA. We sat up high in the cheap seats. I loved Darnell Hillman’s afro and dunks.
By my teen years, I was a full-blown Pacers nut job. I stayed up late and listened to games on the radio. Love of the Pacers sparked my love of newspapers. I read about the Pacers in the Indianapolis Star and the Indianapolis News. I called broadcaster Bob Lamey’s radio show to criticize the Pacers’ lame moves. Billy Knight and Alex English were two of my favorite players.
Eventually Magic Johnson joined the NBA and I became his biggest fan. I’ve loved professional basketball for 50 years.
LeBron James is destroying my love for the game. James, Nike and China have dragged the NBA into a racial propaganda war with the United States as the opposition.
I feel like I’m being forced to choose between love of country and love of basketball.
That’s not a hard choice for me. I choose America. I can survive without the NBA. The NBA apparently can’t survive without pleasing communist-run China.
That’s what’s going on here. American basketball fans are no longer a priority for the NBA. That’s the difference between LeBron James and Michael Jordan as it relates to political activism.
When Jordan was in his prime, Nike cared about the American shoe market. Jordan stayed away from polarizing political issues because he wanted everyone in America to buy his shoes. Jordan was America First. LeBron is a Global Citizen. He wants everyone in China to buy his shoes. That’s why his marketing plan includes smearing America as inherently racist and ignoring China’s blatant anti-black racism and human rights abuses.
Jordan increased the popularity of the NBA here at home. LeBron has decreased the game’s popularity here at home in hopes of increasing its appeal in Asia. The calculus may increase James’ wealth, but it diminishes his legacy in the mind of most American sports fans.
I can’t take it right now. It’s hard to watch NBA games. I’ve watched the Bubble with the audio turned low so it’s easy for me to ignore the self-righteous commercials and the worship of James, George Floyd, Jacob Blake and Breonna Taylor.
I don’t dislike James or Floyd, Blake and Taylor. I just don’t believe in treating them like they’re Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks or Medgar Evars.
I hope the NFL doesn’t put me in a similar position as the NBA. At least a majority of the NFL players aren’t taking a knee during the anthem. At least Black Lives Matter, a Marxist, anti-religion organization, isn’t scrawled across football fields.
If I have to choose between love of country and love of sports, I’m going to choose the United States of America.
Last night, I watched bits and pieces of the first half of Heat-Lakers. I skipped the entire second half. Black Lives Matter and Antifa are burning down a country I love. I’m not going to support a group of pampered millionaires who support the anarchists destroying the country that made them rich.
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