LeBron James Injury: How the NBA Ratings Dropped After the Lakers Star Got Sidelined

Published 03/29/2021, 6:00 AM EDT
Mar 18, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) moves the ball against the Charlotte Hornets during the first half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports


The Los Angeles Lakers look like they are back on the winning horse after their first win in the absence of LeBron James and Anthony Davis. The Lakers first won against the Cleveland Cavaliers and then against the Orlando Magic. This comes as a relief to most fans who have been rooting for the reigning champions to get their second straight title.

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However, the team might have found its rhythm again, but it’s the league that has now suffered because of LeBron James being sidelined.

NBA Ratings take a hit in LeBron James’ absence

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It looks like the league’s ratings have taken a huge hit since the Lakers started playing in LeBron’s absence. As per Sports Media Watch, their blowout loss against the New Orleans Pelicans only averaged 920,000 viewers on TNT. This is a 35% drop from 1.41 million viewers who turned up to see the Rockets vs Bucks on a similar night in 2019.

It was also the least-watched Laker game since LBJ joined them in 2018. Before this, the least-watched game was Lakers vs Jazz in 2019, and it had only 970,000 viewers. This was also a game that didn’t have Bron playing in it.

However, it isn’t only their matchups that are losing an audience. From Clippers vs Mavericks, and the Bucks vs Sixers, to the Jazz vs Celtics, a lot of teams have lost a huge amount of their viewership.

Mar 2, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) reacts against the Phoenix Suns during the second half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

When is the Lakers’ superstar returning?

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The Los Angeles Lakers were on a roll before their first man, Anthony Davis, fell to a calf injury. He was unable to participate in the All-Star game either. But everything still seemed under control, with Bron still there to lead the Lakers. However, it all went downhill when he also suffered a brutal ankle injury while playing the Atlanta Hawks.

Since then, Bron has been sidelined and the purple and gold have been trying to survive without him. Unfortunately, they slipped down in the West without him. From the third spot, they have now landed to the fourth.

Mar 25, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Dennis Schroder (17) gets past Philadelphia 76ers forward Danny Green (14) for a basket in the first half of the game at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

However, they are about to add Andre Drummond to their roster. He will give them a much-needed boost in the duo’s absence. Once AD and Bron are back, the Lakers can hopefully pick up from where they left off unless too much damage has been done.

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Yashima Bhatia

1337 articles

Yashima Bhatia is an NBA writer for EssentiallySports who specialises in providing nuanced predictions and updates for matches. She has a Bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communication. Yashima's love for playing the game came up at a young age, when the excitement of the games coupled with the intensity of the Playoffs had her hooked.

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