Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Will the NBA and WNBA’s ties to the Democratic Party backfire?

September 15, 2021 by  
Filed under Business, Money, News, Opinion, Politics, Sports, Weekly Columns

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(ThyBlackMan.com) The Seattle Storm did something recently that no other WNBA team had done since 2016, they went to the White House to celebrate their WNBA championship. Last year’s WNBA champion finished their season in the “Wubble”, the WNBA version of the NBA’s bubble due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Following a shortened 22-game regular season at IMG Academy in Florida, the Storm won the WNBA championship that they will never forget due to the pandemic and their public social justice stances. Most sports fans are aware of the tradition of professional and collegiate sports team champions being invited to the White House as a celebration of their championship.

The Donald Trump presidency turned that tradition sideways due to strong opposition to his presence by many people and athletes especially Black athletes. Among the four major North American men’s sports leagues of the NHL, NFL, NBA, and Major League Baseball, many of the athletes of the NBA were the most vocal in bypassing the tradition of the championship team going to the White House. It wasn’t too surprising that the WNBA also followed suit. Now that Joe Biden is the U.S. President, the Seattle Storm decided to end the drought.


The Seattle Storm’s most accomplished player in franchise history is Sue Bird. The 12-time WNBA All-Star is no stranger to championships at the collegiate and professional level as a 4-time WNBA champion and winning championships with the UConn Huskies in college. Bird will be in the Basketball Hall of Famer easily following the end of her playing career and her words carry weight as one of the faces of the WNBA over the past 15 years. Prior to the visit to the White House, Bird said, “Now that it’s back in a place where it’s considered an honor and you’re recognized by the highest office in the country is exciting, it’s fun.” Bird’s words could be viewed as very partisan in favor of Democrats instead of being anti-Donald Trump. The WNBA’s Atlanta Dream also famously played an extremely active part in supporting Democratic Senator from Georgia, Raphael Warnock, and getting him elected last year, which is a potentially dangerous precedent for a sports team to publicly choose the side of any politician.

Barack Obama’s connection with the game of basketball has been well-chronicled. He has been a fan for a long time, he plays recreationally, and he is unquestionably an NBA fan. He also was arguably the biggest reason the NBA players returned to the court last year when a wildcat strike due to police brutality threatened the remainder of the NBA season in the “bubble”. The NBA decided to make him a strategic partner and minority owner of its new business investment entity, NBA Africa. In the news release of his position, Obama said, “By investing in communities, promoting gender equality, and cultivating the love of the game of basketball, I believe that NBA Africa can make a difference for so many of Africa’s young people.” While the NBA’s African roots are obvious from the Africans born in America who star in the NBA to current stars like Joel Embiid and Giannis Antetokounmpo, who are the sons of parents born in Africa, the connection of Barack Obama to Africa is a bad one. Unsurprisingly, the United States military is actively involved in Africa. It is about the control of the material resources and the strategic location of the African continent. AFRICOM which was started by George W. Bush but continued by the Obama Administration at full force has continued from this basis.

In America, their citizens are taught to be either Democrat or Republican and the NBA and WNBA has unsurprisingly chosen to appeal to Democratic voters in many ways likely due to the prevalence of so many Black athletes. Black people in America are largely a Democratic voting bloc. However, Malcolm X has long warned Black people of the dangers of both the Democrats and Republicans as he once said, “The white conservatives aren’t friends of the Negro either, but they at least don’t try to hide it. They are like wolves; they show their teeth in a snarl that keeps the Negro always aware of where he stands with them. But the white liberals are foxes, who also show their teeth to the Negro but pretend that they are smiling. The white liberals are more dangerous than the conservatives; they lure the Negro, and as the Negro runs from the growling wolf, he flees into the open jaws of the “smiling” fox. One is the wolf, the other is a fox. No matter what, they’ll both eat you.”

Staff Writer; Mark Hines

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