MSNBC's coverage of the NBA Finals Thursday was not about the dramatic matchup of the sharpshooting Golden State Warriors and the championship-starved Cleveland Cavaliers, but rather an extended discussion of "prominent Democrats" LeBron James and Stephen Curry and the assorted MSNBC-approved activism they've engaged in off the court.
"Tonight, politics will hit the basketball court with the beginning of the NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers," said a smiling Tamron Hall. "The major primary state of California battling the state holding the GOP convention. And Steph Curry is going up against LeBron James, both of whom are prominent Democrats who've supported the Obamas in major social media campaigns."
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A chyron informed viewers that Curry and James are both Obama supporters.
To ruin the NBA playoffs further, Hall brought on The Nation‘s sports writer Dave Zirin, who last year led off his preview of the World Series between the Royals and Mets by talking about how neither team had ever been segregated. He then wrongly predicted the Mets would win the Fall Classic in seven games.
"Sometimes we do try to stretch things and make a political tie out of things," Hall said. "This is not a stretch."
"This is not a stretch at all," Zirin said. "Both LeBron James and Steph Curry have used their capital through sports as a way to speak out about politics. LeBron James on issues ranging from Black Lives Matter to programs for children to really trying to raise the profile of northeast Ohio and the economic crisis there, to the point of which you wonder if he's molding his own political future through basketball."
Zirin also spoke about Curry speaking out against the North Carolina transgendered bathroom law. Curry is a North Carolina native and played at Davidson College before being drafted.
"It's not time to make the comparison to Jim Brown, Muhammad Ali, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar," Hall said. "These are the people that we hold up as athletes who are genuine activists. But for both of these guys on the court tonight, if you could define what you see as their legacy beyond [the game]?"
Zirin pondered a potential governor's run by James in the future, while he mentioned Curry could do whatever he felt given his youth and superstardom.
No actual statistics or players other than James and Curry were mentioned in this segment. It also didn't mention this was a championship rematch from last year.
In the last 30 seconds, Zirin did offer a prediction about the actual sporting event: Cleveland in six games.