Hall Of Fame Coach Phil Jackson Says He Stopped Watching The NBA After It Got Too Political In 2020

Phil Jackson NBA
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Phil Jackson won 11 NBA championships as a head coach, more than anyone else in NBA history. His legendary coaching career spanned over 20 years, including the incredible run with the Chicago Bulls during the Michael Jordan years of the 1990s that netted him his first 6 championships.

He was selected for the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007, before his coaching career had even ended – and before he won his last two NBA championships.

But he doesn’t even watch the NBA anymore.

Jackson dropped the surprising revelation during an interview with Rick Rubin on his podcast, Tetragrammaton.

According to Jackson, the last year he watched was 2020, the year the NBA finished out the season in the COVID bubble. But it wasn’t just the bubble that turned Jackson off: It was also the league’s decision to allow social justice slogans in the wake of the Black Lives Matter and George Floyd protests in the summer of 2020.

“They went into the lockout year and they did something that was kinda wanky. They did a bubble down in Orlando, and all the teams that could qualify went down there and stayed down there.

And they had things on their back like, you know, ‘Justice.’

I made a little funny thing like ‘Oh, Justice just went to the basket and Equal Opportunity just knocked him down…’

So I couldn’t watch that.”

Jackson says that what turned him off was the league’s injection of politics into what should be a non-political game:

“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.

People want to see sports as non-political.”

And while Jackson cites a number of players who have gone on to become political figures, he says that it should stay out of the game:

“Their politics stay out of the game. None. It doesn’t need to be there.”

While many on social media agreed with Jackson’s argument that sports have become too political, there were many others who accused the coach of racism (an accusation he’s faced in the past, including from one of his former Chicago Bulls stars, Scottie Pippen).

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock