Credit: Fox News
Former National Basketball Association coach Phil Jackson won 11 championships between his years coaching for the Lakers and the Bulls, from 1989 to 2011. He said in a recent interview that the NBA’s political “sloganeering” is a form of catering and that “people want to see sports as non-political.”
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Jackson went to speak on the Tetragrammaton with Rick Rubin podcast on April 5. He was asked if he enjoyed watching the modern NBA matchups, and he said that “I’m not enjoying the game.”
Rubin asked Jackson if he stopped watching basketball after he retired and he said, “No, I didn’t. I watched the game evolve and decided that they went into the lockout year and they did something that was kind of wonky. They did a bubble down in Orlando. And all the teams that could qualify went down there, stayed down there.”
The Orlando NBA Bubble was made so that the association could finish out its 2019-2020 season in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jackson spoke of the players that year and said, “And they had things on their back like ‘justice’ and I made a little funny thing like, you know, ‘Justice just went to the basket and equal opportunity just knocked him down.”
He added that his grandkids thought his “play up” on the social justice slogans was funny.
“I couldn’t watch that,” Jackson said about the social justice messages.
Jackson was asked if he thought the “sloganeering” made basketball into a “sideshow”, and he said, “They even had slogans on the floor, on the baseline.”
“It was catering,” Jackson said. “It was trying to cater to an audience or trying to bring a certain audience into play and they didn’t know it was turning other people off, you know, people want to see sports as non-political.”
“You know, we’ve had, we’ve had a lot of different types of players that have gone on to be like, you know, Bill Bradley was a senator, a number of baseball players have been representatives and senators and political, but their politics stay out of the game,” Jackson added.
Jalen Rose, a former NBA star, who is currently an analyst for ESPN did not like what Jackson had to say about the NBA.
“You can’t make this up. Hall of Fame coach and 11-time champion Phil Jackson claims to have stopped supporting the NBA because it became ‘too political’ when it went into the bubble and was catering to certain audiences by putting slogans on the back of jerseys and Black Lives Matter on the floor,” Rose said.
“The same Phil Jackson that won championships with some of the greatest Black athletes in the history of the game – Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant. Made millions on their backs and off their sweat equity. You’re sitting there watching the game with your grandkids and y’all think it’s funny when justice passes the ball to equal opportunity. When somebody shows you who they are, believe them.
“So, stop watching … forever.”