June 3, 2023

Phil Jackson Hasn’t Watched The NBA Since 2020

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Phil Jackson is hailed as one of the greatest minds in basketball. The man behind the triangle offense, Jackson won 11 NBA titles with the Bulls and Lakers. Furthermore, his journey from Division II to Hall of Fame coach has been an inspiration to many. The coach was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2007. Jackson retired in 2011 after a 44-year career of playing and coaching.

However, it turns out that Jackson hasn’t watched much of the NBA in past seasons. In a recent appearance on Rick Rubin’s podcast, Jackson revealed that he hadn’t watched the NBA since the pandemic Bubble in 2020. Additionally, Jackson has no intention of resuming any time soon. Furthermore, Jackson’s reason for why he stopped watching has incensed many people.

BLM Caused Jackson To Stop Watching

Jackson’s divisive reasoning for why he stopped watching the NBA was due to the league’s support of the Black Lives Matter movement. The legendary coach said the league did something “wanky” during the Bubble playoffs, referring to the league’s heavy support of the BLM protests. In wake of the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, the NBA adopted a number of BLM visuals. This included floor decals and player-worn shirts. It appears as though the league’s embrace of racial justice protests turned off Jackson. Jackson also made comments implying that there should be a separation of church and state when it comes to sports and politics. He cited examples of athletes who had become politicians to reinforce this.

However, while Jackson could simply oppose the blurring of lines between sports and politics, is there something more at play here? There have been reports of the past of racist comments made by Jackson towards Black players. Scottie Pippen straight-up called him a racist while Robert Horry said Jackson wasn’t a racist but had made “master” comments. Is it possible that Jackson was opposed more to the BLM movement itself, rather than its presence around the NBA? Jackson has never been public about his political beliefs. The inclusion of BLM content in the NBA sparked a major debate in 2020, and that still continues to this day.

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