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Tetragrammation with Rick Rubin
Phil Jackson says he hasn’t watched the NBA since 2020 — when it went into the bubble for the playoffs and publicly supported Black Lives Matter … a step too far for him, it seems.
The iconic head coach — who’s got 11 championships under his belt from the ’90s through the early 2010s between the Bulls and Lakers — sat down with Rick Rubin earlier this month for a podcast … which is making the rounds now ’cause of what Phil had to say.
Check it out for yourself … Rick asks Phil if he watches NBA basketball to this day in the wake of retiring in 2011, and Phil says he kept his eyes on the game only through 2020.
When asked why, Phil says the NBA did something “wanky” while in Orlando — namely, getting mixed up in politics with a bunch of slogans on the court and on the jerseys of the players themselves. He never says “BLM” … but there’s no doubt that’s what he’s talking about here. He even kinda mocks it — saying he joked about it from home with his family.
Phil says guys would have phrases like “Justice” plastered across their backs instead of their surnames like normal … and goes on to explain that he’d make cracks about “Justice” or so-and-so making a drive to the basket — which he says his grandkids got a kick out of.
Long story short … Phil thinks the NBA was pandering to a certain audience and demographic — and their virtue signaling that year turned a lot of people off … including himself. He says politics should stay out of sports, and that folks don’t wanna see ’em mesh.
Phil cites athletes who’ve gone on to have political careers — the implication being … if you wanna pursue that, do it off the court and outside of the league. BTW, Rubin did a good job pressing Phil on what exactly bothered him about the BLM stuff … and he responded clearly.
Now, as you can imagine … Phil’s getting ripped a new one on Twitter — as this is coming as news to a lot of people who thought the dude was an unproblematic genius of basketball.
His resume still speaks for itself, no doubt, but he’s getting a helluva lot of side-eye now after these comments — and you gotta wonder what some of his greatest former players — many of whom were Black — might have to say about this.
He’s not gonna be able to triangle his way out of this one. 😬