Phil Jackson is one of the most successful coaches in NBA history, with 11 championships under his belt. He is widely respected for his basketball knowledge and his ability to manage star players. However, he recently revealed that he has lost interest in the game he once loved, because of its political activism.
In an interview with Rick Rubin on the Tetragrammaton podcast, Jackson said he stopped watching the NBA since the 2020 season, when the league embraced social justice movements.
“They did something that was kind of wanky, they did a bubble down in Orlando, and all the teams that could qualify went down there and stayed down there,” Jackson recalled.
Jackson poked fun at the NBA for pushing social justice messages on player jerseys in 2020.
“They had things on their back like ‘Justice’ and a funny thing happened like, ‘Justice went to the basket and Equal Opportunity knocked him down.’ Some of my grandkids thought it was pretty funny to play up those names. I couldn’t watch that,” Jackson said.
Jackson’s comments have sparked a lot of backlash from fans and media, who accused him of being insensitive, hypocritical, and even racist. They pointed out that Jackson made millions of dollars coaching mostly Black players, such as Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Kobe Bryant, and Shaquille O’Neal, and that he should support their efforts to fight against racism and injustice. But every one of those guys made more money than Phil Jackson did so I don’t see the problem.
However, I think Jackson has a valid point. In fact, it’s the same reason that I stopped watching basketball. The NBA has gone too far in its political activism, and has alienated many fans who just want to enjoy the game without being lectured or guilt tripped. The NBA should respect the diversity of opinions among its fans and players, and not impose a one-sided agenda on them. They should focus on basketball, not politics.