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The NBA: Too Woke, Too Self-righteous, Too Much

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We are currently in the midst of the finals of the National Basketball Association (NBA). The Phoenix Suns, the Western Conference champions, are battling the Milwaukee Bucks, Eastern Conference champions.  In another week the 2020-21 NBAchampionship will be decided.

If you watch any NBA games or WNBA games (the women’s professional league) you might notice a strange phenomenon. The players are wearing masks as they entered the court. 

Once the game commences, the non-starters sit on the sidelines, spaced significantly apart, many still wearing masks. All are encouraged not to interact too closely with one another.

Let the Perspiration Flow

As the game unfolds, the starting players run up and down the court at top speed. Soon after, they begin perspiring and, in closing guarding each other on the court, frequently exchange perspiration. Concurrently, while guarding opposing players, they literally breath on one another

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As the ball travels up and down the court, is passed around among teammates on offense, and then perhaps rebounded, or collected by the other team after a made basket, the opposing team proceeds down the court, touching the ball numerous times in the span of 24 seconds – the length of the basketball shot clock. 

The ten players on the court, plus the referees, and the bench players entering the game, in the aggregate, touch the ball several hundred times before the end of the first half. Yet, the NBA maintains a strict and rigid anti-virus protocol in the name of protecting its players. 

As Joe Biden would say, “Come on, man!” 

A League of Liars

Beyond symbolic COVID protocols, from the outspoken superstar and overly-woke, LeBron James, on down the NBA, is two-faced when it comes to U.S. policy with China. It is widely known that the Chinese government has been nothing short of terrifying to its Uyghur population.

The Uyghurs, and a variety of other largely-Muslim ethnic groups in China’s Xinjiang region, have been subjected to internment, slave labor, and forced sterilization. Human rights groups cite China as having unlawfully detained 1,000,000+ Uyghurs in a vast network of “re-education camps,” while incarcerating hundreds of thousands of others. Former prisoners have reported instances of sexual abuse and even torture.

While LeBron James cries ‘foul’ over U.S. laws, American jurisprudence, and police procedures, he has nothing to saying about China. The NBA, you see, has very lucrative deals with Chairman Xi Jinping’s Chinese government. The huge contracts that the NBA has with China means that everybody involved in the deals get rich… everybody except these poor Chinese citizens, many of whom live in abject poverty, under the thumb of the government.

It’s not as if LeBron James and the NBA in general is unaware of China’s miserable human rights record. In countless ways, the Chinese government, over many years running, has amply demonstrated how little concern it has for the rights of its citizens. That doesn’t dissuade the top stars in the NBA from pretending nothing is happening.

It’s the Principle!

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Some top NBA players, including perennial all-star James Harden, have publicly stated that they don’t wish to play on teams owned by a professed Republican. Think about such a viewpoint: some professional athletes don’t want to play on a team owned by someone who has a political viewpoint different than theirs. 

So, one must agree with how they think in order for them to play for you? Could anything be more absurd? What if we decide that only Democrats are allowed to own NBA teams? Would that satisfy the NBA prima donnas? Doubtful. They would find something else to rail about. 

The NBA, for sure, is a two-faced organization, perhaps worse than Major League Baseball, which moved its All-Star game from Atlanta to Denver because the State of Georgia had the temerity to tighten election security. 

Mercifully, the NBA has been declining in popularity. TV viewership is experiencing a record poor year. Will the league truly ‘awake’ in the near future? Not unless major money is at stake.


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About the Author:
Jeff Davidson is "The Work-Life Balance Expert®" and the premier thought leader on work-life balance, integration, and harmony. Jeff speaks to organizations that seek to enhance their overall productivity by improving the effectiveness of their people. He is the author of Breathing Space, Simpler Living, Dial it Down, and Everyday Project Management. Visit for more information.