The NBA’s viewership and ratings continue to plummet as the season winds down.
Game 2 of the championship finals on Friday was reportedly the least-watched NBA finals game on record, bringing in just 4.5 million viewers.
That’s a 68 percent dip from last year’s Game 2, according to Outkick.com.
Game 1 of the NBA finals had the lowest viewership in recorded history, with just 7.41 million people watching.
“A ship doesn’t sink for one reason, but undoubtedly, politics sit atop the historical tank,” the sports and politics Web site said. “After nearly two decades of reinventing the NBA discussion, LeBron [James] is now a detriment to the league’s brand … The NBA’s new self-inflicted identity is written in ink. Millions of turned-off Americans associate the NBA with radical politics catered to only a minimal number of sports fans.”
Lakers superstar James has become a vocal advocate for the Black Lives Matter movement, encouraging other players to wear BLM gear. As a result NBA players have knelt for the National Anthem, and the league even agreed to paint the phrase “Black Lives Matter’ on its court sidelines.
However, not everyone in the NBA agrees with James’s social-justice approach.
Meyers Leonard, who plays for Miami Heat, refused to kneel for the National Anthem back in August, even though he supports the Black Lives Matter movement.
“I am a compassionate human being and I truly love all people,” Leonard said. “I can’t fully comprehend how our world, literally and figuratively, has turned into black and white. There’s a line in the sand, so to speak: ‘If you’re not kneeling, you’re not with us.’ And that’s not true.”
Orlando Magic forward Jonathan Isaac also stood for the anthem when the league resumed play in July.
And last week Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert went against the rest of the league and expressed condemnation on Instagram for China’s human rights abuses.
The NBA has long pursued an economic partnership with the communist nation and there has been an obvious unspoken rule about players and teams making critical statements about it.
The majority of players in the league, though, are fully on board with BLM.
Some players even suggested boycotting the playoff games over the death of Jacob Blake, who was shot by police in Kenosha, Wisc., after he pulled a knife on an officer.