John Gonzalez of The Ringer reported in detail on the political contributions of NBA owners. The NBA has attempted to have their messaging align with social justice causes such as racial equality and police reform, but many have been skeptical of their motives and beliefs.
An extensive review of Federal Election Commission records reveal NBA owners have made more than $28 million in political donations to various causes and candidates since January 1, 2015 with 53.4 percent ($14.9 million) going to Republican politicians and PACs, while 43.1 percent (over $12 million) was directed to Democrats.
Connie Ballmer, wife of Steve Ballmer, made a $7 million contribution in April to Everytown for Gun Safety, a nonprofit advocating for gun control and serves as an NRA watch group.
During the 2020 election cycle beginning in 2019, The Ringer found that 80.9 percent of political donations by NBA owners have gone to Republicans and Republican causes, 18.4 percent to Democrats, and 0.7 percent to nonpartisan issues when you exclude the Ballmer' $7 million gun control contribution. After the Everytown for Gun Safety contribution, nine of the next 10 top recipients of NBA governor donations this cycle have been GOP candidates or causes.
Five owners have directly contributed to Donald Trump or his PACs (Dan DeVos, James Dolan, Tilman Fertitta, Julianna Holt, and Jim Buss.
Of the 10 owners who have donated the most money since 2015, seven directed more than 75 percent of their political contributions to Republicans.
Marc Lasry, Ted Loenosis, Wesley Edens, Vivek Randive, Jeanie Buss and Wyc Grousbeck have donated solely to Democrats.
The owners’ widespread financial support of the GOP, however, has not insulated the league from being criticized by the Trump administration. Trump attacked the NBA for its TV ratings during the restart and for becoming “a political organization.”
Mark Cuban was the only owner to speak with The Ringer on the record. Cuban noted he does not donate to politicians or PACs because “I strongly value my independence.”
“I talk to owners and players who are ‘conservative’ when it comes to financial issues but simultaneously very ‘liberal’ when it comes to social issues,” Cuban wrote via email.
In 2019, Steve Kerr said there’s an understanding among players and coaches that “most owners are very conservative.” While that generally hasn't been an issue in the past, Kerr thought “maybe it will become one.”