Hall of Famer Phil Jackson said that he hasn’t been an NBA viewer for years, because the game has become “too political.”
The former head coach of the Chicago Bulls’ 1990’s dynasty era told music producer Rick Rubin that he initially was put off by the league during the 2020 pandemic season.
“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,” he said on the Tetragrammaton podcast.
Jackson said that the NBA’s social justice themed jersey’s and the Black lives Matter slogan painted on the court made him want to tune out.
“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,'” he recalled.
“Some of my grandkids thought it was pretty funny to play up those names, I couldn’t watch that.”
“They even had slogans on the floor,” the eleven time NBA Championship coach continued.
“It was catering, 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,” Jackson concluded. “You know, people want to see sports as non-political.”
Jackson was panned on social media for his hot take. “When White people say a sport with predominantly Black men is “too political” for voicing concerns of their communities, they’re racist as f–k,” one person wrote.
“Phil Jackson has been around Black people longer than most of us have been alive and he still doesn’t get it,” another added. “There is no hope for white people.”
Legendary player Charles Barkley, who was a frequent foe to Michael Jordan during the team’s dominating performance under Jackson’s leadership in the early nineties, said his new CNN will be “non-political.”
“King Charles,” which Barkley is co-hosting with CBS star Gayle King, will debut on CNN primetime this fall.
“I want it to be non-political,” he said in an interview about their new show.
“But we’ll talk about politics,” King immediately shot back.
“We will, but we don’t want to say we’re a liberal, conservative, Republican, Democrat,” he detailed. “That’s one of the things that’s already ruined television in general.”
Barkley noted that both he and King are “straight shooters” and the show’s format will reflect that.
“All I want is people, even if I disagree with them, to be honest with me. I don’t want them saying things to get clickbait,” he explained.
“That’s what drives me crazy about people in our profession right now.”
“I know she’s going to be fair and honest,” Barkley said about his co-host. “You know I’m going to do the same thing.”
“Everyone I know has an opinion about something,” King added.
“I just think we have to figure out a way to have a good conversation without tearing each other down, I think we can do that.”
Barkley said that if they launched the series immediately, the first topic they would discuss would be mass shootings.
“You guys know I’m a pro-gun guy, but it should not be easy to get guns,” Barkley stated.
“We got to start doing better.”