The NBA’s pandemic restart was a perfect time to sow the seeds of social justice. And as the league tips off its new season, now is the time to reap.
An activist group has taken out a full-page advertisement in the New York Times calling on the league to force the sale of one of its teams. The team is the Detroit Pistons. The owner is Tom Gores, who also owns a prison telecommunications company. Gores, the charge goes, perpetuates racism because the company, Securus Technologies, charges so much for prison phone calls.
“If Black Lives Matter, what are you doing about Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores?” the advertisement asks.
“In his current position and how he’s currently building his wealth and what he’s doing to our communities, he shouldn’t be allowed to own one of our favorite basketball teams,” said Bianca Tylek, a leader of the group behind the ad.
The NBA was once a professional basketball league, and it was a good one. While it was a long way from its Michael Jordan-fueled peak in 1998, the 2000s and even most of the 2010s boasted a strong presence in the culture. People wanted to see Kobe Bryant’s Lakers battle Paul Pierce’s Celtics or the triumphs and defeats of LeBron James in Cleveland and Miami or Stephen Curry in the San Francisco Bay Area.
But that audience has been fading and replaced by a smaller, but louder, contingent. Similar to a lot of corporations these days, the NBA has surrendered to the “extremely online” progressive activists who like to make demands. NBA players, too, increasingly make up a part of this group, making demands about how the league should show adherence to social justice movements.
The NBA was once a major cultural player, one that extended beyond political lines to the public. It now cares mostly about approval from the New York Times and activists like Tylek, whose demands will never cease. The league of Air Jordan and the Black Mamba is in the past. It’s now the league of the activists.
—By Zachary Faria
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