The NBA’s open support of Black Lives Matter and Orlando bubble approach to the end of the season and the playoffs turned some people off and likely tuned a few out.
Ratings are down as much as 20 to 30 percent according to those who count such things, but some strange afternoon time slots and being four months later than normal has to factor in some way.
I’m still watching. Not afraid to admit I’ve always enjoyed NBA basketball of the playoff variety especially, and generally I’m one to choose basketball over hockey most any time.
Normally without the Detroit Pistons involved my attention would ebb, but in this pandemic time I find my sports viewing has flipped in all sorts of directions.
PULLING FOR LAKERS, OH MY
The other night I found myself actually wanting the Los Angeles Lakers to win. It surprised me. I’m not one for those who have won more than their fair share winning more, but there I was watching, rooting and trying to figure it out.
Maybe it’s not thinking much of Jimmy Butler, Miami’s unique star, but he clearly gave everything he had in game five, an elimination game for the Heat. Not sure what is happening to me. Apparently I’m getting easier to sway as I age or something. It didn’t bother me that the series is going to go at least one game longer because Butler almost appeared to will it to happen.
It gives me something to watch.
And I like watching LeBron James, and Butler is growing on me.
I found out a long time ago I don’t have to like a player to want to watch him. Michael Jordan was that for me, and for a long time. I still think he is the best player I’ve ever watched.
LEBRON AND BUTLER WAGING A BATTLE
LeBron is a beast though, and he may cry a little too much for my liking, but he is the best player in the game today. He’s going to win another championship no matter how hard Butler tries to stop it.
By the way, University of Michigan basketball fans who are not watching the NBA playoffs are missing out on former Wolverine Duncan Robinson shooting lights out. Oakland University’s Kendrick Nunn has had great minutes for the Heat, too.
And it’s going to be fun to watch, and I’m watching and I even think it is a good thing that the NBA players are speaking out about racial injustice and pointedly wearing messages on their jerseys.
Scoff if you must about millionaires talking of injustice, but they do have a stage. Being quiet about this world in upheaval would be the true injustice.
Let them talk. Let them play. I’m going to watch. Game 6 is Sunday. Check your local listings.
Photo from CBS Sports