Analyst Goes After LeBron James for ‘Tanking’ NBA Ratings

lebron james

Getty Los Angeles Lakers guard LeBron James.

The Los Angeles Lakers are closing in on finishing off a historic championship run. Unless the Miami Heat could pull off arguably the greatest upset in NBA history, the Lakers should be the first NBA team to win a championship while in a bubble. Unfortunately for the league, not many people are watching.

According to Sports Media Watch, the Finals matchup between the Heat and Lakers is the lowest viewed in Finals ratings history:

Sunday’s Lakers-Heat NBA Finals Game 3 averaged a 3.1 rating and 5.94 million viewers, marking the lowest rated and least-watched NBA Finals game on record. The previous low was set two nights earlier by Game 2, which averaged a 3.6 and 6.61 million. The low before that was set by last Wednesday’s Game 1, which as previously reported drew a 4.1 and 7.41 million.

Despite the fact that the Lakers and LeBron James have a massive brand, people apparently aren’t too keen on watching the Finals.

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Analyst Blames LeBron & Politics for Bad Ratings

There could be dozens of reasons why the ratings are down. Obviously, there are no fans at games which definitely hurts the excitement. There’s also that the series isn’t that competitive outside of a Game 3 win by the Heat. However, Clay Travis of Outkick the Coverage believes that politics and LeBron are responsible for the ratings tanking.

“Over 30 million people watched Michael Jordan’s final game in the NBA Finals,” Travis said. “5 million people are watching LeBron James in the NBA Finals right now. … Think about how unbelievable of a collapse in audience that is.”

Travis goes onto to suggest that the NBA’s and LeBron’s decision to embrace “woke” politics has negatively affected the ratings.

It’s no secret that LeBron has been very political during his career. The NBA has fully embraced politics during the bubble as players wear slogans on their jerseys and there are political messages on the court. Travis has gone after LeBron and the NBA a number of times for this and it’s hard to ignore the fact that it has likely affected their ratings. The decision to embrace politics isn’t the sole reason the ratings are down but the NBA might rethink their approach heading into next season.

Adam Silver Says the NBA Will Return to ‘Normalcy’

Whatever the reasons are for the decrease in ratings, the NBA clearly needs to change things up. It appears that next season they will start to move away from politics. NBA commissioner Adam Silver recently told ESPN’s Rachel Nichols that the league will try to go back to how things were:

We’re completely committed to standing for social justice and racial equality and that’s been the case going back decades. It’s part of the DNA of this league. How it gets manifested is something we’re gonna have to sit down with the players and discuss for next season. I would say, in terms of the messages you see on the court and our jerseys, this was an extraordinary moment in time when we began these discussions with the players and what we all lived through this summer. My sense is there’ll be somewhat a return to normalcy, that those messages will largely be left to be delivered off the floor.

It remains to be seen how that will sit with the players but the league clearly has a lot to figure out this offseason.

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