From LeBron James to Stephen Curry, his presidency has seen clashes between Donald Trump and some of the NBA’s biggest stars.
Just last month, the president announced with a familiar chorus that NBA final television ratings had dropped by over 70 percent because fans had grown weary of the league’s attitude to social justice.
Ironically, the NBA could have played a significant role in the fact that Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden won the race to enter the White House.
Some 62 percent of eligible voters cast their votes in this year’s presidential election, the highest turnout in 50 years in percentage terms, surpassing even the 61.6 percent recorded when Barack Obama took office in 2008.
While three of the four most recent presidential elections recorded a voter turnout of over 60 percent, this year’s election is only the ninth of 18 presidential elections since the end of World War II in which voter turnout exceeded the threshold.
The NBA deserves some praise for such a high turnout, as the arenas of 23 of the 30 league franchises were used as voting centers for the 2020 elections-half of the 32 NFL teams also made their venues available with some capacity.
Meanwhile, several NBA players supported the “More Than A Vote” campaign launched by James and former First Lady Michelle Obama to combat misinformation directed at black voters and ensure that black Americans were registered to vote.
In two key battlegrounds that Biden won – Michigan and Wisconsin – both voter turnout and the Democratic candidate’s vote increased significantly compared to four years ago in the districts where an NBA arena served as the voting venue.
The pattern also extends to Arizona and Georgia.
FOX News and Associated Press have declared the elected president the winner in the former, but several other networks have hesitated to follow this pattern. Meanwhile, the Trump campaign has called for a recount in Georgia, where Biden leads with just over 12,000 votes according to data from the National Election Pool and Edison Research.
In at least two counties – Wayne County in Michigan and Maricopa County in Arizona – that used NBA arenas as polling stations, the difference between the votes Biden received this year and the votes the Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton won four years ago was enough to put the respective states on blue.
Biden won Michigan with just under 135,000 votes and made the Great Lake State Democrat the winner after Trump won it in the 2016 presidential election with just over 10,000 votes. The President-Elect won 567,846 votes in Wayne County, where one of the polling places was the Henry Ford Performance Center, the training facility of the Detroit Pistons. Four years ago, Clinton won 519,444 votes, securing 66.4 percent of the total, compared to 67.6 percent for Biden.
Wayne County received about 60,000 more votes this year than in 2016.
In Fulton County, Georgia, where the Atlanta Hawks provided the State Farm Arena as a polling station, nearly 516,000 votes were cast in the current presidential election, up from nearly 415,000 in 2016.
The Hawks told Washington Newsday that franchise and district officials were “satisfied” with the turnout, although neither had set numerical expectations.
“We were able to serve about 40,000 voters, more than twice the number of the second largest location in Fulton County,” said a franchise spokesman.
Biden won just over 379,000 votes in Fulton County, while Clinton barely got over 297,000. The difference could well prove significant and leave Georgia blue-flagged for the first time since 1992, as Biden currently has a 33,000 vote lead, while Trump promoted the peach state by just over 200,000 votes in 2016.
The situation is similar in Maricopa County, where the Phoenix Suns’ Veterans Memorial Coliseum was used both as a voting center and as a drop-off point for early voting. Turnout rose from 1.45 million votes four years ago to 2.01 million this year.
Clinton secured 702,800 votes in Maricopa County in 2016 and eventually lost Arizona by 91,000 votes. Biden, meanwhile, has won 1.03 million votes and currently leads Trump with about 15,000 votes.
Wisconsin was one of the few states where voters did not vote in an NBA-