When will the NBA turn on Michael Jordan?

The NBA is the progressive league. The NBA cares. That is what we have been told over and over

When will the NBA turn on Michael Jordan?

The NBA is the progressive league. The NBA cares.

That is what we have been told over and over again for the past few years. While the NFL fumbles over Kaepernick, the NBA is there supporting its players. Adrian Wojnarowski reports that it plans to paint “Black Lives Matter” on its Disney World courts once it resumes. Pay no attention to how the NBA pressured its own athletes not to kneel. The NBA is the progressive league.

But if there is anything we have witnessed over the past month; it is that this concern over racism is just as focused on tearing things down as it is on building anything up. Some of those things should be removed, such as police unions or statues of the Confederate leadership. But there has been plenty of attacks and destruction which are not merited, whether it is defacing the statue of General Grant or harming Democratic state senators who came to watch protests.

And as we watch these destructive tendencies, a question should be asked: how long will it be until this destructive tendency comes for Michael Jordan?

Such a question may sound ridiculous. Michael Jordan is well, Michael Jordan. The basketball icon of a generation, the greatest player who has ever lived. How could he be attacked? For what?

For the great crime of being neutral and apolitical in the face of racial injustice, of course. This was the man who famously said “Republicans buy sneakers too” when asked why he was not more politically active. And progressive rhetoric has made it quite clear that “neutrality” does not exist. If you are neutral, you stand on the side of the oppressors. In the words of that well-known progressive icon George W. Bush, you are with us or against us.

We have already seen rumblings of it here and there. The Athletic published a piece recently talking about the good the NBA could do for progressive politics. The piece negatively compares Jordan to Colin Kaepernick, noting how Jordan did nothing to help Craig Hodges and Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf when they took their progressive stances in the 1990s.

And to top it all off, those who will want to criticize Jordan for his neutrality will have an icon they can turn to in LeBron James. LeBron has been anything but quiet politically, actively campaigning for Hillary Clinton in 2016 and famously calling Donald Trump “u bum” on Twitter.

The battle over whether Jordan or LeBron is the greater player of course can exist outside of politics. But it is possible that progressives will prop up LeBron as the greater player not because of anything he did on the court, but because he is the greater person in their eyes.

And they will attempt to bring down Jordan in the process. Conservatives will react by doing the opposite, by exalting Jordan and lambasting LeBron to fight for their politics. The fact that LeBron represents a younger generation, which is naturally more progressive, will exacerbate this trend.

That is likely going to be the future of sports. As certain organizations and individuals intend to explicitly inject politics into sports, this will color how we view players in much the same way how every TV show or movie is not progressive or not. Instead of saying that one thinks Jordan is overrated because he played in a weak league in the 90s, it will be that Jordan is a bad person because he did not take a stance. If they can come for Grant, or Lincoln, or even Schwarzenegger, there is no reason they will not come for Michael Jordan.

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Jeremy Brener