Today, the NBA will host an All-Star Game over the objections of many of its players. But back in 1964, stars were willing to go on strike and not play the exhibition, despite threats from ownership, to win retirement pensions and basic protections. It’s a classic reminder that no matter who you are, collective action works.
Matthew Miranda is the cohost of the Jacobin Sports Show.
The history of American professional sports is inseparable from a history of protest. But never before has such a large cross-section of leagues been impacted by political action. We should celebrate the development.
The Fernando Tatís Jr controversy this week shows how absurd many of baseball’s “unwritten rules” are. Imagine the NBA’s Zion Williamson or NFL’s Patrick Mahomes having the game of their life and the focus afterward being their need to do less.
The Last Dance, ESPN’s highly touted series on Michael Jordan, is not a documentary. It’s a ten-hour exercise in mythmaking that gives Jordan one more chance to sell the corporate product that always mattered to him most: himself.
Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey might get fired for tweeting in solidarity with Hong Kong protesters. For all the NBA’s liberal pretenses, it’s a reminder that the league — and woke capital as a whole — really cares about profits, not principles.
Ultrarich assholes act like kings that can subject workers to whatever petty indignities and abuses they want. That’s why billionaire Warriors minority owner Mark Stevens put his hands on basketball worker Kyle Lowry.
High Flying Bird reminds us the NBA “family” is beyond dysfunctional; it’s malevolent. And it challenges us to imagine a different sort of league.
The NBA salary cap doesn’t benefit players or the fans — it lines the pockets of billionaire team owners.
As long as no one risks the league’s power or profits, the NBA can sell politics all the way to the bank.