No sports league has more politically active athletes and coaches than the NBA, and much of that activism is done with their wallets. But which candidate—or political action committee — did your favorite NBA player support?
ESPN The Magazine columnist Howard Bryant was doing some research for a book and started tweeting the donations reported by NBA athletes, coaches, owners, and even commissioner Adam Silver. The league appears to swing heavily toward the Democratic side of the spectrum, though that wasn’t necessarily the case with owners.
LeBron James is no stranger to political opinions, and he’s quite famously supported Democratic presidential candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in recent presidential elections. He’s donated to Democrats multiple times over the years.
Boston Celtics general manager Danny Ainge supported Mitt Romney during the 2012 presidential election, while former Celtics coach and current LA Clippers coach Doc Rivers was an Obama donor to the tune of $25,000.
Not all of the donations mentioned are necessarily recent, but it’s a fascinating divide. Did you know Ron Artest supported Obama and that Charles Barkley once donated to John Edwards?
Houston Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni, however, is a Bernie Bro. He gave the candidate $2,500 for his Democratic primary run.
That made another writer wonder whether vocal San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich has supported anyone financially, and Bryant had a quick answer to that as well.
None of this information is secret and it’s certainly not new, but it’s an interesting study in how politics impacts the sports world. Bryant even makes an excellent point about the current blacklisting of Colin Kaepernick in the NFL, where a majority of the owners like Dan Snyder have supported Republican candidates — including Donald Trump — who have been highly critical of Kaepernick’s silent protest against police brutality against people of color.
The truth is that politics penetrates all things in America, including sports. Sticking to sports isn’t as easy is it sounds.