By Ben Pults – [email protected]

With all of the current playoff action between NBA teams, some people have begun to wonder if the NBA is losing its popularity now more than ever before. I would tend to disagree with these naysayers, but after taking a step back and analyzing the larger scheme of things, I would agree with them and how the NBA is losing its adoration.

First, what has happened to all of the showtime players that used to be on television so much when we were kids? Where did the players we grew up loving to watch like Allen Iverson, Tracy McGrady and Kobe Bryant go to?

There are definitely still the current all-stars for the league today such as LeBron James, Steph Curry and Kawhi Leonard, but the players just aren’t as numerable and exciting to watch as they once were. There aren’t as many flashy dunks (who could forget Vince Carter’s epic dunk contest?), glamorous passes and jaw-dropping defensive plays that would once happen on a daily basis, and if they do happen today, it tends to be one of the same few people every time.

Second, the numbers don’t lie. Many sources agree that the local television channels have seen drastic declines in people who watch basketball over the last 10 years, and only a select few up and coming teams have seen their numbers rise, such as the young and talented Timberwolves or the rising 76ers. Even teams that have won championships in recent years and dominate the NBA have lost popularity like the Warriors or Cavaliers.

Third, comes the more interesting issue of race within the NBA. A majority of players within the NBA tend to be African American, with the percentage of African Americans within the NBA rising
dramatically over the last 25 years, while the number of Caucasians in the NBA has dropped to extremely low numbers. With the majority of the United States being Caucasian, and without the
showing of a superior, white superstar, the number of whites who tend to watch the game have dwindled, while the number of blacks who tend to watch the game has heightened, due to the large increase of black superstars. Thusly, this isn’t merely a race issue, it’s a demographics issue.

With the population of whites in America being tremendous, and the population of blacks being just a portion of the population in comparison, it’s clear to see what has happened. The number of whites who typically watch the game has dropped exponentially in comparison to the number of blacks who have started to watch the game, resulting in a smaller number of fans.

Sure, go ahead and enjoy the typical intense playoff atmosphere that happens every year. Savor the entertaining moments of this year’s playoffs. Basketball appears to be popular as a result of the playoffs right now, but don’t let it fool you. The NBA’s popularity has declined, and will continue to decline unless somebody or something stirs the pot of the future of the NBA.

This is the opinion of Ben Pults, SJU first-year