The NBA has emphasized inclusivity and Black lives since the bubble restart. It appears this could all be performative, however, as the basketball league is donating to political parties that might not have the best interest of minorities in mind.
The Ringer reported on Thursday that over 80% of the political donations from NBA owners have gone to the Republican party, while only 18.4% has been donated to Democratic causes. The remaining amount was given to non-partisan initiatives. The ten owners who have donated the most to political causes have given more than 75% to Republicans.
Per the Federal Election Commission, this has resulted in $14.9 million from the NBA going to the Republican party. Also, five NBA owners—the Lakers' Jim Buss, Orlando Magic's Dan DeVos, New York Knicks' James Dolan, Houston Rockets' Tilman Fertitta, and San Antonio Spurs' Juliana Holt—have directly contributed to President Donald Trump and his reelection campaign.
Unlike her brother, the Lakers' Jeanie Buss, along with the Milwaukee Bucks' Wes Edens and Marc Lasry, Washington Wizards' Ted Leonsis, Sacramento Kings' Vivek Ranadive, and the Boston Celtics' Wyc Grousbeck have donated strictly to Democratic causes.
Although the league's strong Republican support seemingly goes against the NBA's social stance, Mavericks' owner Mark Cuban explains that most owners and players make political decisions based on how it will benefit them financially and that this isn't an indicator of their societal beliefs.
"I strongly value my independence," Cuban said in an email explaining why he doesn't donate to political causes. "I talk to owners and players who are 'conservative' when it comes to financial issues but simultaneously very 'liberal' when it comes to social issues."
Despite the owners supporting him and his party financially, Trump has been excessively critical of the NBA's messaging. The president even went as far as to claim that the NBA is in "bigger trouble than they understand" because its low ratings could be linked to the importance it placed on supporting the Black Lives Matter movement.
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