Mark Cuban appeared on The Megyn Kelly Show this week to discuss NBA ratings, the league’s relationship with China, and politics in general.
The pair had a sometimes tense, but largely productive conversation during which each had the opportunity to express their particular points of view.
One of the things Kelly immediately pressed Cuban on was the NBA’s historically poor ratings in the Finals this year.
“I don’t think it has anything to do with politics,” he said.
According to Nielsen Media Research, Game 6 of the 2020 NBA Finals did 5.6 million viewers. That number was less than half of the audience that tuned in to watch a largely meaningless regular season NFL outing between the Seattle Seahawks and Minnesota Vikings the same night.
Last year’s Game 6 between the Golden State Warriors and Toronto Raptors did 18.34 million viewers.
Overall, this year’s NBA Finals were the lowest on record.
“I just think we don’t have the match-up and the storylines, and we didn’t do a good job promoting it,” he added.
That said, even Cuban could acknowledge that the ratings were a disappointment.
“I’m not making excuses, it’s lower than I wanted them to be,” Cuban said. “But at the same time, the rest of the playoffs we did really well. I’m telling you the whole thing about politics is nonsense.”
The pair also discussed the NBA’s ongoing relationship with China, despite the notable human rights violations occurring in the country.
Some, namely those on the right side of the political spectrum, have suggested that the NBA’s players, owners and personnel are hypocrites for taking such a strong stance on social injustice within the United States while simultaneously ignoring it abroad to promote their business interests overseas.
“So basically, you’re saying that nobody should do business with China ever?” Cuban asked, when Kelly pressed him on the league’s ongoing relationship with the country.
“Why would the NBA do that?” Kelly followed up.
Probably not the reaction the Lakers were expecting. https://t.co/MO9HgHizSo
— Game 7 (@game7__) October 12, 2020
“They are a customer,” Cuban replied. “They are a customer of ours. And guess what, Megyn? I’m okay with doing business with China.
“You know, I wish I could solve all the world’s problems, Megyn. I’m sure you do too. But we can’t. And so we have to pick our battles. And while you’d like to get proclamations so you can create a clip that says, ‘Look what I got Mark to say,’ you don’t want to deal with the actual action item.”
What it really boiled down to for Cuban was domestic versus international affairs. He is more focused on what is happening at home than elsewhere.
Not ideal. https://t.co/VEQ6PZVKn7
— Game 7 (@game7__) October 13, 2020
“I personally put a priority on domestic issues,” he added.
“[But] I’m against human rights violations around the world.”
“Including the ones in China?” Kelly countered.
“China is not the only country with human rights violations,” Cuban replied.
“Including China, Mark?” she followed up.
“Yes, including China,” Cuban responded. “Any human rights violations anywhere are wrong.”
All in all, Cuban and Kelly had a mostly productive and pretty illuminating conversation.
Although it is unlikely that conservatives and liberals will suddenly agree on the NBA’s political dealings any time soon, the conversation taking place is a good one because it helps people get a greater understanding of what’s happening in the world. From there, everyone can come to their own conclusions based on their interpretations of the facts at hand.