The NBA has seen its ratings dropping in the past couple of seasons and while some people believe that has something to be with their political messages, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, or any other reason, ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith has blamed those superstars who are healthy enough to play games but decide to sit out.
This has been very common in the past couple of years, with the infamous 'load management' becoming a very recurrent practice around the league. Several players have taken advantage of this to rest during the regular season, especially when their teams play back-to-back games but Smith isn't a fan of that.
"If ratings are still down, then it's time to make some changes. And it's got to start with superstar players actually playing basketball when you're healthy enough to play. Every day and night you're healthy enough, like LeBron James does when he's not hurt, like James Harden does when he's not hurt. How in the h*ll are you supposed to sell a league to the MASSES when you can't even promise them that your superstar players will be in uniform???"
LeBron James, as Smith said, it's not a player that will miss games because he feels a little hurt. If he knows he's good to go, the Los Angeles Lakers superstar will be there with his team. James Harden has been the same case and now he's sidelined due to a neck injury.
Other players don't think the same and they rather sit out for games during the regular season so they can be in better shape when the playoffs arrive. This has always received a lot of criticism and that won't change in the near future. Superstars are the main reason why the NBA is the league it is; if you can see them playing, then paying for a ticket doesn't sound that attractive.