NBA

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Posted by kaori 02/25/2009 @ 00:14

Tags : nba, basketball, sports

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2009 NBA Mock Draft: It's Blake and bad weather - MiamiHerald.com
By John mcmullen, Sports Network I'm not sure when we turned into Seattle, but the bleak weather is giving me an ominous feeling about the upcoming NBA Draft. This year's selection pool reminds a lot of the 2000 draft that produced just two legitimate...
Injured Thabeet Misses Workout - Washington Post
Some draft projections have the 7-foot-3 center out of Connecticut going to Memphis with the second pick in Thursday's NBA draft. Thabeet already has had two meetings with team officials.. . . A judge will consider whether former NBA star Jayson...
Kings NBA Draft: News10 Coverage Live_Online - News10.net
SACRAMENTO, CA - Before the Kings make their picks at the NBA Draft on Thursday, News10 Sports will have your complete coverage beginning with a special Kings Draft News10 Live on Line with Kings Head Coach Paul Westphal on Wednesday....
NBA At 2: Bucks Get Worse - HoopsWorld
In this edition of the NBA At 2: The Milwaukee Bucks gave up something for not much at all…Boston Celtics still maintain no trading Rondo – probably…Charlotte Bobcats letting Sean May go?…Upcoming HOOPSWORLD chats. What Are The Bucks Thinking?...
Take-Two in deal to make, distribute games in China - Reuters
HK) to develop and distribute online versions of Take-Two's popular NBA 2K basketball video game. Take-Two said 2K Sports unit scored a multi-year license to develop an online simulation game to be distributed in China and other countries....
James Johnson: The NBA first round pick with quite a kick - Yahoo! Sports
We may find out down the road if James Johnson's NBA career is shortlived. The 6-foot-7, 257-pounder from Wake Forest is expected to be a first round pick on Thursday so he's guaranteed a few years in the NBA. He's got a possible backup plan if it...
Judge to consider sentencing Jayson Williams - The Associated Press
TRENTON, NJ (AP) — A judge on Monday will consider whether former NBA star Jayson Williams should be sentenced for covering up a fatal shooting at his mansion in 2002, given Williams' recent erratic behavior, including an assault arrest in North...
Dickey: Riley faces dilemma in first draft as Warriors GM - The San Francisco Examiner
SAN FRANCISCO — New general manager Larry Riley talked at length to the media Monday about the Warriors and the NBA draft, and coach Don Nelson even made a cameo appearance. Riley was genial and Nelson grumpy, but the unintended message for Warriors...
Are Celtics trying to deal Allen and Rondo? - USA Today
According to a Yahoo! Sports report, the Boston Celtics approached the Detroit Pistons with a trade offer that would send the backcourt duo of Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo to Motown in exchange for Rip Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince and Rodney Stuckey....
Power forwards: A new breed of NBA player takes the court - NBA.com
By Jonathan Givony, for NBA.com Outside of the point guard slot, no position in the NBA has been re-defined and gained as much importance as the modern power forward position has over the past few years. Gone are the old back-to-the-basket big men who...

NBA on NBC

The NBA on NBC logo

The NBA on NBC was a weekly presentation of National Basketball Association games on the National Broadcasting Company television network from 1955 to 1962, and again from 1990 to 2002. The NBA on NBC succeeded the NBA on CBS. During NBC's partnership with the NBA in the 1990s, the league rose to unprecedented popularity for the sport, with ratings surpassing the days of Magic Johnson and Larry Bird in the mid-eighties.

The program started on November 9, 1989 when the NBA and NBC reached an agreement on a four-year, $600 million contract. On April 28, 1993, NBC extended their exclusive broadcast rights to the NBA with a four-year, $750 million contract.

NBC's theme music, "Roundball Rock" was composed by New Ager John Tesh. The song, which NBC used for every telecast in the network's twelve-year history with the NBA, is today often used by NBA TV for their live game coverage. After briefly considering using the theme for its NBA coverage, ABC decided against it, and has used several theme songs in its first four years of covering the NBA.

Until 1997, NBC would play the rock song "Winning It All", by The Outfield during its end of the season montage. From 1997 to 2001, several contemporary music pieces were used for the end of season montage (including, in 1997, the R. Kelly song I Believe I Can Fly). After the 1999 Finals, NBC used Roundball Rock for their montage. In 2002, after NBC's final broadcast, the network aired a montage of memorable moments from every year of coverage, using music from "Titans Spirit" (from the film Remember the Titans) to "Winning It All" and most notably, "To The Flemish Cap" from the 2000 film The Perfect Storm. The song composed by James Horner is played at the beginning of the montage as well as the end featuring footage from the Los Angeles Lakers dynasty era. This theme song has made a brief comeback as part of NBC's Olympic basketball coverage in 2008.

NBC's coverage of the NBA began on Christmas Day each season, with the exception of their inaugural season (which featured a November game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the San Antonio Spurs) and their final season (which included two early season games featuring the return of Michael Jordan with the Washington Wizards). NBC aired the NBA All-Star Game every year (with the exception of 1999, when the game was canceled due to a lockout), usually at 6:00 p.m., Eastern Time. In 2002, NBC aired the game an hour earlier (at 5:00 p.m., Eastern) due to the Winter Olympics later that evening. Starting in 2000, during the NBA Playoffs, NBC would air tripleheaders on Saturdays and Sundays for the first two weeks of the playoffs. Prior to 2000, NBC would air a doubleheader on Saturday, followed by a tripleheader on Sunday.

On Saturday, December 30, 2000, NBC aired a rare second December game. It was the only time that NBC aired a game between Christmas Day and the start of the regular run of games. In 2001, NBC was scheduled to air an October preseason game involving an NBA team playing an international team; that game was canceled due to 9/11. During the 2001-02 NBA season, NBC added a significant number of Washington Wizards games to its schedule (due to the aforementioned return of Michael Jordan). When Jordan became injured during the middle of the season, the network replaced the added Wizards games with the games that had been originally on the schedule (for example, a March 2002 game between the Wizards and Orlando Magic was replaced at the last minute with an Indiana Pacers-Sacramento Kings game).

NBC's pregame show was known as NBA Showtime from 1990 to 2000. Starting in 2000, NBC scrapped the title of the pregame show. From 1990 to 1996, Showtime was hosted by Bob Costas. After 1996, Hannah Storm hosted, and would be joined by Ahmad Rashad in 2002 season as Rashad filled in for Storm when she went on Maternity Leave the first half of the 2001 season. The video game NBA Showtime: NBA on NBC, by Midway, was named after this pregame show.

During the NBA Finals, additional coverage would be immediately available on CNBC, where the panelists would discuss the game more in-depth for half an hour extra, after going off the air on the main NBC network.

The halftime show was sponsored by Prudential Financial (Prudential Halftime Show), NetZero (NetZero at the Half) and Verizon Wireless (Verizon Wireless at the Half). The NBA on NBC also had a segment during the live games called Miller Genuine Moments, which briefly looked back on a particular historically significant and/or dramatic moment in NBA history. This segment was discontinued towards the end of NBC's coverage. For a brief period in 2001-02, NBC aired a studio segment called 24, where each analyst (at that time, Pat Croce, Jayson Williams or Mike Fratello) would have twenty-four seconds to talk about issues concerning the NBA. After Williams was arrested for murder in February 2002, NBC (in conjunction with completely revamping the pregame show) discontinued the segment.

NBC's first broadcast team was made up of Marv Albert and Mike Fratello. Other broadcasters at the time included Dick Enberg and Steve "Snapper" Jones. Bob Costas had hosting duties for the pregame show, NBA Showtime. In 1992, basketball legend Earvin "Magic" Johnson became a top game analyst (alongside the likes of Enberg, Albert and Fratello) for the NBA on NBC. Johnson's performance was heavily criticized. Among the complaints were his apparently poor diction skills, knack for "stating the obvious", habit of referring back to his playing days, and overall lackluster chemistry with his broadcasting partners. Johnson would ultimately be slowly phased out of the NBA on NBC after helping commentate the 1993 NBA Finals. In 1994, Mike Fratello left the booth (in order to become the head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers) and was replaced with Matt Guokas. Albert and Guokas broadcast the 1994 NBA Finals and were joined for the 1995 NBA Finals by Bill Walton. Albert, Guokas and Walton, while not working regular season games together (Walton usually worked games with Steve "Snapper" Jones and play-by-play men Dick Enberg or Greg Gumbel), broadcast the next two Finals (1996 and 1997) together in a three-man booth.

1997 was the last time Marv Albert would call the NBA Finals for NBC during the decade. An embarrassing sex scandal forced NBC to fire Albert before the start of the 1997-1998 season. To replace Albert, NBC tapped studio host Bob Costas for play-by-play. Matt Guokas did not return to his post as main color commentator, and was replaced by NBA legend Isiah Thomas. Costas was replaced on the pregame show by Hannah Storm. Midway through the season, Costas and Thomas were joined by recently fired Detroit Pistons coach Doug Collins. Collins served to take some weight off Thomas, who was considered by some to be uncomfortable in the role of lead analyst. The team of Costas, Thomas and Collins worked the big games that season including the 1998 NBA Finals (which set an all-time ratings record for the NBA). For the 1998-99 season, Thomas was moved to the studio, while Costas and Collins made up the lead team. The 1998-1999 season, which was marred by a lengthy lockout (which resulted in the regular season being shortened to 50 games) included the low-rated 1999 NBA Finals between the San Antonio Spurs and the New York Knicks. In the 1999-2000 season, Marv Albert was brought back, making a return which included calling that year's lead Christmas Day game between the San Antonio Spurs and the Los Angeles Lakers from Staples Center.

The 2000-2001 season brought to an end Bob Costas' direct role with the NBA on NBC (although Costas would work playoff games for the next two seasons and would return to host NBC's coverage for the 2002 NBA Finals). Costas deferred to Marv Albert, allowing Albert to once again be the lead broadcaster for the NBA, and stayed on only to deliver interviews and special features. On the studio front, Hannah Storm missed the first half of the NBA Season as a studio host due to maternity leave and Ahmad Rashad filled in for Storm until she returned during the 2001 NBA All-Star Game, while Isiah Thomas left NBC to become coach of the Indiana Pacers. Storm and Rashad did anchor both the 2001 NBA All-Star Game and the 2001 NBA Finals together. When Storm returned from Maternity Leave Rashad continued to make more and more appearnces in the Studio even when Storm was there. Joining Ahmad Rashad and Hannah Storm were former Phoenix Suns player Kevin Johnson and former NBA coach P. J. Carlesimo. Marv Albert joined Doug Collins as the number one broadcast team, and the two broadcast the 2001 NBA Finals, which had the highest ratings since 1998. After the season, Collins was hired away from NBC by the Washington Wizards, which forced the network to move the long-time secondary color duo of Steve "Snapper" Jones and Bill Walton to the lead broadcast team with Albert.

During the 2001 NBA Finals between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Philadelphia 76ers, NBC decided to cross-promote with their then-hot quiz show The Weakest Link. During halftime of Games 2 and 3, two 10 minute editions of The Weakest Link aired. The contestants were Bob Costas, Bill Walton, and Steve "Snapper" Jones along with Charlotte Hornets guard Baron Davis and Los Angeles Sparks center Lisa Leslie.

The 2001-2002 season featured several anomalies, as NBC started their coverage on the first Saturday of the season, for the first time since 1991. The reason for this was NBA legend Michael Jordan's return to playing, this time for the Washington Wizards. NBC covered an early December game featuring Jordan's Wizards as well, which marked the first time an over-the-air network aired more than one pre-Christmas NBA game since CBS in the 1980s.

Ahmad Rashad officaly was named studio co-host of the NBA on NBC. Rashad would join Hannah Storm who returned on a regular basis as she missed the first half of the NBA Season in 2001. That year, NBC's studio team consisted of Storm and Rashad with former Philadelphia 76ers owner Pat Croce, the returning Mike Fratello, and charismatic former player Jayson Williams. The tandem stayed together through the 2002 NBA All-Star Game. During the week between the All-Star Game and NBC's next scheduled telecast, Williams was arrested after shooting and killing his limo driver. He was promptly dropped from NBC, which also did not return Croce or Fratello to studio coverage. Instead, the network brought in Tom Tolbert, who had only recently been added to the network as a third-string analyst paired with Mike Breen. Tolbert stayed on as the lone studio analyst through the end of the season, and won acclaim by several in the media, including USA Today's Rudy Martzke.

Ahmad Rashad had told The Los Angeles Times * before the 2002 NBA Finals began that he would be ending his 20-year run on NBC Sports with Game 3 of the NBA Finals on the pregame show. A feature in which he interviewed Shaq O'Neal and Kobe Byrant would be his last assignment for the network.

He was replaced by Bob Costas as co-host of the pregame show for the Finals, and Rashad declined to join Hannah Storm (the co-host of the NBA Finals pre-game show) on the post-game show carried by CNBC.

Rashad could only look sheepishly into the camera.

It was time for another commercial break, and apparently NBC couldn’t wait long enough to at least let Rashad complete his final sentence for the network, let alone give him a brief send-off, or a thank you.

Two days before NBC was to begin its playoff coverage, both Marv Albert and Mike Fratello, returning from working a Philadelphia 76ers-Indiana Pacers game on TNT, were seriously injured in a limo accident. That week, NBC juggled its announcing teams, which resulted in Bob Costas and Paul Sunderland working some early round playoff games. Fratello would return to TNT after several days, and Albert returned to NBC for Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals between the Dallas Mavericks and Sacramento Kings.

The season would also turn out to be NBC's last with the NBA. The league, in January 2002, announced a six-year agreement with The Walt Disney Company and AOL-Time Warner, which gave over-the-air broadcast rights to ABC. That year, NBC's playoff ratings were much higher than previous years, including a record-high ratings for the 2002 Western Conference Finals. Those high ratings did not translate to the Finals, which scored their lowest ratings in over two decades.

Jim Fagan's voice was heard in nearly every single NBA on NBC telecast. Fagan, the voice behind "This is the NBA on NBC", also did several commercial voice-over promotions for the NBA on NBC. Mitch Phillips also did voice over work for the NBA on NBC, primarily in commercials.

During its twelve-year run, the NBA on NBC experienced ratings highs and lows for the NBA. In the 1990s, the NBA Finals ratings were stellar, with the exception of 1994 and 1999 (ironically, the years in which the New York Knicks made the finals). In 1998, the NBA set a record for Finals ratings, with an 18.7 for the second Chicago Bulls-Utah Jazz series, the last championship run by Michael Jordan's Bulls. The very next year (after a lockout which erased part of the season), the ratings for the Finals plummeted, and the NBA's ratings have been lower ever since. In 2002, NBC set a record for highest rated Western Conference Final, including a 14.2 for Game 7 of the series between the Los Angeles Lakers and Sacramento Kings.

NBC's highest rated regular season game was Michael Jordan's first game back from playing minor league baseball; the March 1995 game between the Chicago Bulls and Indiana Pacers scored a 10.9 rating (higher than all but three NBA telecasts on ABC). As a comparison, the first game in Jordan's second comeback (a game against the New York Knicks that aired on TBS opposite the 2001 World Series) scored a rating between a 3.0 and 4.0. NBC's first game of Jordan's second comeback scored ratings similar to that number.

Several NBA observers accused NBC and the NBA of being biased with certain teams and individual players. NBC benefited from having 11 of the 12 Finals it televised involve the popular Chicago Bulls or the large-market Los Angeles Lakers, Philadelphia 76ers and New York Knicks; however, smaller market teams such as those in San Antonio, Sacramento, Phoenix, Houston, Seattle, Portland, Utah, Indiana, Orlando and Miami all made regular appearances on NBC games during its run.

When NBC Sports' contract with the NBA expired in 2002, the broadcast rights were passed to ABC, which began airing games the next season. NBC had made a four-year, $1.3 billion bid in the spring of 2002 to renew its NBA coverage, but the league instead made six-year deals worth $4.6 billion with ESPN, ABC, and TNT. In the last four years of the final contract, NBC lost $300 million dollars. NBC only offered $325 million a year compared to ESPN's $400 million.

Whereas NBC normally televised 33 regular games a year, ABC would generally air fewer than twenty regular season games a year. According to Commissioner David Stern, the reduced number of network telecasts was at the NBA's own request since the NBA believed that they would get a higher audience for a single game (in contrast to NBC's tripleheaders). From 2002 to 2006, the NBA's ratings on broadcast television (ABC) have dropped almost a full ratings point (from nearly a 3.0 average rating to just above a 2.0 rating). NBC averaged a 5.5 average rating during the 2002 NBA Playoffs. ABC averaged a 3.3 average rating for the 2005 NBA Playoffs.

NBC Sports replaced the Sunday afternoon single games and doubleheaders of the NBA on NBC with games of the AFL on NBC in February 2003, which lasted until the conclusion of their contract in 2006. NBC would acquire broadcasting rights for NFL games on Sunday nights that same year.

After NBC signed a contract with the PGA Tour, which involved the network significantly increasing the amount of golf it televised, as well as their contract with the NHL closing off most Sunday afternoon times in the winter, it became increasingly unlikely that the NBA would return to NBC for the foreseeable future. In May 2007, the NBA renewed its television contract with ESPN, making ABC the broadcast home of the NBA through 2016. A number of fans have expressed disappointment with the NBA for renewing ABC's contract, citing poor ratings (6.2 for the 2007 NBA Finals featuring the San Antonio Spurs and the Cleveland Cavaliers), lowered fan interest and ABC's poorly received choices in theme music and program content. Basketball has still been shown on NBC as part of the Summer Olympic Games, and during the 2008 Summer Olympics. NBC also began using "Roundball Rock" going into commercial breaks during telecasts of Basketball at the Olympics.

During the NBA on NBC, the NBA experienced some of its most memorable moments. Multiple Michael Jordan and Reggie Miller game winners were televised by NBC, as well as some of the great comebacks in NBA history (the Los Angeles Lakers comebacks in 2000 and 2002, and the Boston Celtics comeback in 2002). While NBC only televised one Game 7 of the NBA Finals, in 1994 (as it was the only Finals series in the 1990s to go the full seven games), seven of the Finals it televised went at least six games (the 1991, 1995, 1999, 2001, and 2002 Finals did not).

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NBA on CBS

The NBA on CBS logo

The NBA on CBS was a weekly presentation of National Basketball Association games on CBS Sports. The NBA on CBS ran from the 1973-1974 NBA season (when CBS succeeded ABC Sports as the official, over-the-air, nationally televised American broadcaster of the NBA) until the 1989-1990 NBA season (when CBS was succeeded by NBC Sports).

During CBS' first few years at covering the NBA, CBS was accused of mishandling their NBA telecasts. Among the criticisms included CBS playing too much loud music, the lack of stability with the announcers, regionalizing telecasts (thus fragmenting the ratings even further), billing games as being between star players instead of teams, and devoting too much attention to the slam dunk in instant replays. Regular features included a pregame show that consisted of mini-teams of celebrities and active and former NBA players competing against each other, and a halftime show called Horse.

The NBA eventually took notice of the criticisms and managed to persuade CBS to eliminate its original halftime show. In its place, came human-interest shows about the players (similar to the ones seen on the NFL Today program on CBS). There also was a possibility that CBS would start televising a single national game on Sunday afternoons.

Other adjustments that CBS made in hopes of improving their coverage included hiring reporter Sonny Hill to cover the league on a full-time basis. CBS also put microphones and cameras on team huddles to allow viewers to see and hear coaches at work. Finally, CBS introduced a halftime segment called Red Auerbach on Roundball, featuring the Hall of Fame Boston Celtics coach. The segment intended to not only educate CBS' viewers about the complexities of the pro game, but also to teach young players how to improve their skills. They also subtly introduced audiences to an all-star team based on Auerbach's criteria such as screening and passing.

During the 1976-77 season, the NBA's first after the ABA-NBA merger brought the American Basketball Association into the league, CBS held a slam dunk contest that ran during halftime of the Game of the Week telecasts. Don Criqui was the host of this particular competition. The final, which pitted Larry McNeill of the Golden State Warriors against eventual winner Darnell "Dr. Dunk" Hillman of the Indiana Pacers, took place during the 1977 NBA Finals. CBS, anxious for star power, gave big names of that era (Julius Erving, George Gervin, and David Thompson) the opportunity to be eliminated three times.

From 1975-1979 CBS aired all NBA Finals games live (usually during the afternoon). Starting in 1982, CBS resumed live coverage of all NBA Finals games. During this era, CBS aired weeknight playoff games from earlier rounds on tape delay at 11:30 p.m. Eastern Time (airing games live when the game site was in the Pacific Time Zone). CBS continued this practice until at least the mid-1980s.

CBS didn't want sportscasters to give the final score on the 11 p.m./10 p.m. newscasts. They preferred the games to not be over by that time if they were going to be aired on tape later that night. Most CBS games were either 8:30 p.m. or 9 p.m. local starts. For instance, CBS aired Games 1-3 of the 1981 Western Conference Finals (between the Houston Rockets and Kansas City Kings). Ironically, CBS featured both Western teams finished the regular season with a record 40-42 instead of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers (both teams finished with a 60-22 record).

1986 was the last year that CBS ever aired an NBA playoff game on tape delay. It was Game 3 (on Friday, May 16) of the playoff series between the Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets. The game aired at 11:30 p.m. after having a 9:30 p.m. tip.

The 1976 NBA Finals had three straight off days between Sunday afternoon opener and Thursday night second game due to CBS' concern with low ratings for professional basketball. The 1975-76 network television season (as well as May sweeps) ended after Wednesday, May 26 (with weekend afternoon games not factored into the prime-time ratings). Accordingly, CBS allowed Game 1 to be played on Sunday afternoon, since the ratings would not count, but would not permit Game 2 to be played live in prime time unless the NBA waited until Thursday evening.

For Game 3 of the Finals, CBS forced the NBA to start the game in Phoenix at 10:30 a.m. local time (1:30 p.m. EDT) on a Sunday morning. This was done in order to accommodate a golf telecast that afternoon. Many local clergymen were outraged, as attendance at Sunday church services was drastically reduced that day.

By 1977, CBS' NBA schedule was composed of six regionalized telecasts on Sundays. Not only that, CBS would run one national game if they felt that match-up itself warranted national coverage. CBS also could stage doubleheaders and switch from a one-sided game to a close one. During this period, CBS stopped doing any pre-NBA Finals prime time games. They, instead started airing several West Coast games at 11:30 p.m. ET.

For most of the early years, the NBA tried to assist CBS by allowing the network to choose any game it wanted to broadcast. But too often, it was small market teams like the Portland Trail Blazers that were in the playoffs or won the championship.

CBS wanted the NBA to start Game 6 of the Finals at 10:30 local time on Sunday morning to accommodate a golf telecast of the Kemper Open (similar to 1976). This time, the NBA refused and CBS agreed to a noon start in Portland. Despite the fact that this was the Finals' clinching game, CBS cut away from their NBA coverage very quickly after the game ended, skipping the trophy presentation in the Portland locker room to instead televise the golf tournament.

By 1978, NBC aired Saturday afternoon college basketball games, CBS aired NBA doubleheaders on Sunday afternoons, and most independent stations aired local professional and college games. CBS started to fear that their ratings suffered as a result of too much basketball being on television at once. So as an experiment of sorts, CBS aired the first two games of the Conference Finals at 11:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.

In 1979, Games 2 and 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals were televised live, while Game 7 was broadcast on tape delay. Games 3 and 6 of the Western Conference Finals aired live, while Games 2, 5 and 7 were televised via tape delay. Games 6 and 7 of the 1979 NBA Finals would have been televised live (at 3:30 p.m. on a Sunday and then 9:00 p.m. on the following Tuesday), but were unnecessary.

By 1979-1980, CBS' NBA ratings had bottomed. In 1980, CBS' regular season rating was a 6.4. By this time, they had eliminated their regional coverage and only used two play-by-play men (Brent Musburger and Gary Bender) and three color commentators (Bill Russell and Rod Hundley, who teamed with Musburger and Rick Barry, who teamed with Bender) CBS felt that wasn't worth it to them to pre-empt their Friday night lineup (the smash hit Dallas in particular) during May sweeps to show an NBA Finals game. The consensus was that a basketball game in prime time would have drawn fewer viewers. As a result, CBS used to regularly run NBA games in the 11:30 p.m. time slot (then occupied by The CBS Late Movie). For the 1980 and 1981 NBA Finals, CBS scheduled Games 3 and 4 on back-to-back days (Saturday and Sunday) to avoid an extra tape delay game.

When it came time for CBS to broadcast Game 6 (on Friday, May 16) of the 1980 Finals, they gave their affiliates (in fact, WAGA-TV in Atlanta didn't carry the NBA on CBS for numerous years) the option of either airing the game live or on tape delay. If the affiliate choice to air the game later that night, then prime time viewing would consist of reruns of The Incredible Hulk, The Dukes of Hazzard, and Dallas. Game 6 (the clincher) of the 1980 Finals between the Los Angeles Lakers and Philadelphia 76ers was most notably, aired live in the Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Portland and Seattle markets. Otherwise, most CBS affiliates chose to air Game 6 on tape delay.

The 1980-1981 season was arguably the rock bottom point of the tape delay era for CBS. CBS aired four of the six Finals games on tape delay and six of nine during the Conference Finals. Just like the previous year, CBS scheduled Games 3 and 4 of the NBA Finals without an off day to avoid yet another tape delay game. CBS wanted the Pacific teams to advance in the playoffs so that they could show live games at 11:30 p.m. on the East Coast; however, the Los Angeles Lakers and Portland Trail Blazers were upset in Round 1, while the Phoenix Suns were upset in Round 2. This left two teams playing in the Central Time Zone--the Houston Rockets and Kansas City Kings in the Western Conference Finals.

The NBA responded to CBS' actions by stretching out the regular season, resulting in the NBA Finals ending after sweeps. The NBA had experimented in 1979-1980 and 1980-1981 with ending the regular season at the end of March, thereby ensuring that the Finals were played in early to mid-May; starting in 1981-1982, a late April regular season finale was held, resulting in the finals starting in late May and stretching into June.

While CBS would stop using tape delay after the 1981 NBA Finals, many first round playoff games were not nationally televised (a practice that didn't begin until 1995). During this era, CBS typically provided regional coverage of two games in a late Sunday afternoon time slot during the first three weekends of the playoffs. In 1986, CBS provided regional coverage of the Eastern Conferences Finals and Western Conference Finals games on May 18. This would be the last time that any NBA Conference Finals game was not nationally televised.

In the 1982-83 season, CBS greatly reduced the number of regular season broadcasts from 18 to four. The rationale was that cable television (namely, the USA Network and ESPN) was carrying a large number of regular season games (at least 40 each). In return, CBS executives believed that the public was being oversaturated with NBA coverage.

For the 1983-84 season, CBS would televise just ten (out of 170 nationally) regular season games. Meanwhile, CBS televised about 16 playoff games.

During the 1984 NBA Finals, Lesley Visser became the first woman to cover an NBA Finals.

On May 12, 1985, during halftime of the Boston Celtics/Philadelphia 76ers playoff game, CBS televised the first ever NBA Draft Lottery.

1986 was the last time CBS ever aired an NBA playoff game on tape delay. It was on May 16, 1986, Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals between the Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets. The game aired on 11:30 p.m. following a 9:30 p.m. tip. Also in 1986, CBS provided regional coverage of the Eastern Conference and Western Conference Finals games on May 18. As previously mentioned, this was the last time that any NBA Conference Finals game was not nationally televised.

In 1987, CBS provided prime time coverage for Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals. This marked CBS' first pre-Finals prime time playoff telecast since 1976.

By the late 1980s, CBS was telecasting 15-16 regular season games a year. In 1989 alone, only 13 of the 24 playoff games (Games 1-3 to be exact) in Round 1 appeared on TBS or CBS. For example, none of the four games from the Seattle-Houston first round series appeared on national television.

Another interesting fact is that Game 5 of the 1989 playoff series between Chicago and Cleveland (featuring Michael Jordan's now famous game winning, last second shot over Craig Ehlo) wasn't nationally televised. For instance, CBS affiliates in Virginia elected to show the first game of a second round series between Seattle and the Lakers.

Meanwhile, many CBS affiliates on the West Coast such as Los Angeles and San Francisco got a chance to see at least a portion of the Chicago-Cleveland game. In Los Angeles, the hometown Lakers finished their game (started at the same time as the Chicago-Cleveland game) just in time for CBS to switch to Chicago-Cleveland, where as it happened Jordan made his game winner. The Portland Oregonian criticized CBS for its decision to show the Game 1 of the second round Seattle-Lakers series in Portland rather than that game. Further, CBS only broadcast the fifth game of the first round series between Atlanta and Milwaukee nationally. The nationally televised Atlanta-Milwaukee game went on the air at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time while the regionally televised Chicago-Cleveland and Seattle/L.A. Lakers games went on the air at 3:30 p.m. Eastern Time.

Perhaps even more confusing, both Game 5 sites (Chicago at Cleveland and Milwaukee at Atlanta) were in the Eastern Time Zone, so differing local start times were not a factor. Previously, CBS aired Game 2 of the Chicago-Cleveland series nationally while relegating Game 2 of the Atlanta-Milwaukee series to TBS. CBS used its number one announcing team, Dick Stockton and Hubie Brown to call that game.

During the 1980s, CBS showed a mixture of NBA and college basketball during the regular season. Each March, CBS would essentially put their NBA coverage on hold during the NCAA Tournament. CBS typically showed a few regular season NBA games in the weeks after the NFL season ended, before March Madness, and several weekends leading into the playoffs.

Popular belief holds that the peak era of the NBA on CBS occurred from 1984 to 1987. During this period, CBS' NBA coverage was the beneficiary of a new era in the league that would forever link two of the game's greatest players, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. Bird and Johnson entered the NBA (coming off of playing against each other in the highest rated NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship of all time), playing for the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers, respectively. The Lakers and Celtics, two iconic teams in large television markets, rose to prominence during the period; many credit the theatrics of Bird and Johnson to boosting the overall popularity of the NBA (especially during the tape delay era of NBA telecasts). Within three years of Johnson and Bird entering the league, the NBA had a weekly Game of the Week on CBS, and ratings for Finals games approached World Series levels.

Prior to the Bird/Magic era, CBS used to televise approximately five to seven games regionally per week in a doubleheader format (1:45 p.m. and 4 p.m. ET) on Sundays. ratings for regional were far outdrawn by NBC's college basketball coverage and ABC's Superstars program. After ratings bottomed out in 1980 and 1981, coinciding with CBS airing tape delayed coverage, the network decided to scrap the regional telecasts. In its place CBS sold the marquee players and teams (i.e. Julius Erving and the Philadelphia 76ers, Larry Bird and the Boston Celtics, Magic Johnson and the Los Angeles Lakers, etc.) for a "Game of the Week" broadcast.

During its tenure as NBA network partner, CBS aired notable Finals series between the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics, as well as both championships won by the "Bad Boy" era Detroit Pistons.

In 1976, CBS' regular season ratings earned an abysmal 26 share on Sunday afternoons. In 1978, the deciding game of the NBA Finals ranked 442nd out of 730 shows from September 1, 1977 to August 31, 1978. The next highest rated playoff game in prime time only ranked 619th.

CBS' NBA ratings were also extremely low during the early part of the eighties. In 1980, the 26 share from 1976 had fallen to 18 percent. Ratings fell to a level where, as mentioned before, CBS began airing games in tape delay. The 1981 NBA Finals set the standard for futility, with a 6.7 average rating. The mark was the lowest in NBA history, until the 2003 NBA Finals averaged a 6.5 on ABC.

With the rebirth of the Lakers-Celtics rivalry, ratings improved, especially in the three NBA Finals the two teams played in. In-between 1981-1983 CBS' ratings rose 12 percent. CBS' highest rated NBA game (and the only NBA game that scored a 20 plus rating for the network) was Game 7 of the 1988 NBA Finals between the Lakers and the Detroit Pistons. By the end of its coverage, CBS' NBA ratings had been mostly respectable, with the lowest rated Final after 1982 scoring a 12.3 (three times). That mark is higher than any NBA Final since 1998.

On November 9, 1989, the NBA and NBC reached an agreement on a four-year, $600 million contract (beginning in the 1990-1991 season). From 1986 to its final year in 1990, CBS paid about $47 million per year for their NBA coverage. The final NBA game that CBS televised to date occurred on June 14, 1990. It was Game 5 of the NBA Finals between the Detroit Pistons and Portland Trail Blazers. The Pistons won the game 92-90 to clinch their second consecutive World Championship. As the soundtrack for their goodbye montage, CBS used "The Last Waltz" by The Band and Marvin Gaye's rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner" from the 1983 NBA All-Star Game. So after 17 years, an era at CBS Sports as well as the National Basketball Association had come to an end. While the network broadcast every Larry Bird-Magic Johnson Finals (with the exception of 1991, which was Magic Johnson's last and the first to be broadcast by NBC), it never broadcast any Final involving Michael Jordan.

Well, I guess the time has come. This is our last game as many of you may know. And it's really the end of a 17 year love affair between CBS and the NBA. For every member of our broadcast team and I mean technicians, and camera people, production people, the terrifically talented folks in the truck, where it all happens, and of course...the commentators, this has been an extraordinary experience. We've witnessed the careers of Julius Erving and Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. We've seen Michael Jordan take flight. All the players actually, fired the imagination not only of an entire generation of NBA fans but for all of us at CBS. We know we leave the NBA in good hands. But to Isiah and Akeem and Patrick and David Robinson, too all the players and coaches...and you the viewers, we're going to miss all of you. So long!

In May 2007, the NBA renewed its television contract with ESPN, making ABC the broadcast home of the NBA through 2016. A number of fans have expressed disappointment with the NBA for renewing ABC's contract, citing poor ratings (6.2 for the 2007 NBA Finals featuring the San Antonio Spurs and the Cleveland Cavaliers), lowered fan interest and ABC's poorly received choices in theme music and program content.

Musburger was involved in every NBA Final (either as a play-by-play man or as a host) from 1975 to 1989, and was the lead voice for NBA games on CBS for much of that period. From 1975 to 1980, Musburger worked with a variety of analysts for regular season games (including Billy Cunningham, Mendy Rudolph, Rod Hundley, Oscar Robertson, Steve Jones, Tom Heinsohn, and Rick Barry). Musburger called Game 5 of the 1976 NBA Finals, with Rick Barry and sideline reporters Mendy Rudolph and Sonny Hill. In 1989, he and Bill Raftery were the number two team on playoff games, working the Western Conference Final games that were broadcast on CBS. In 2004, Musburger and Raftery worked NBA playoff games on ESPN.

Dick Stockton was the lead voice of the NBA on CBS from 1981 to 1990. After CBS failed in an attempt to compete with the NBC college basketball announcing team of Dick Enberg, Billy Packer and Al McGuire with Gary Bender (who was subsequently "promoted" to a play-by-play position on CBS' newly acquired college basketball package), Rick Barry and Bill Russell, Stockton became the voice of the NBA. Working with Tom Heinsohn (who was criticized by the media and viewers for being too biased to the Boston Celtics, a team he once played for and later coached) from 1983 to 1987, Stockton called some of the most memorable NBA Finals in league history. In 1984, 1985 and 1987, the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics played each other in the NBA Finals, and Stockton's broadcasts became the then-highest rated in NBA history. Stockton would call the NBA Finals through the rest of the 1980s and in 1990 as well, working the 1988 NBA Finals with Billy Cunningham and the 1989 and 1990 NBA Finals with Hubie Brown (after Cunningham left CBS Sports to accept a management job with the new Miami Heat).

CBS employed many NBA greats during its seventeen years as the lead network carrier; Bill Russell was an analyst for several years, mainly in the 1970s and early 1980s. Elgin Baylor was an analyst during CBS' inaugural year in 1973-1974, and was fired during that year's playoffs due to what CBS considered a lackluster performance. He was replaced by another NBA great, Rick Barry, who held a fairly consistent role with CBS through the 1970s and early 1980s, including calling several NBA Finals. Steve "Snapper" Jones, best known from the NBA on NBC, was part of CBS' broadcast teams, partnering with Don Criqui in 1975-1976 and 1976-1977.

Barry's comments were considered to be racially insensitive (Bill Russell is Black) and CBS did not renew Barry for the subsequent season.

CBS often used the same analysts for both the NBA Playoffs and NCAA Tournament. Tom Heinsohn, Billy Cunningham, and Hubie Brown all worked NCAA Regionals during years when also serving as the lead NBA analyst for CBS. Billy Packer worked NBA playoff games in 1987 and 1988 while he was the CBS' lead college basketball analyst.

During the 1984 NBA Finals, Lesley Visser became the first woman to cover an NBA Finals. She joined CBS Sports part-time in 1984 before joining full-time in 1987. When she was part-time with CBS she still worked for the Boston Globe as she had many diverse assignments with the Globe. Visser became the first female NBA Beat Writer in 1976 when she was assigned to cover the Boston Celtics. Visser resigned from the Globe in Late 1988.

While Brent Musburger did host most of CBS' NBA Finals pregame and halftime programs, Pat O'Brien hosted a pregame show during the earlier rounds of the playoffs called The Basketball Show. O'Brien, working with analyst Bill Raftery, also hosted the The Prudential At The Half. When Musburger left CBS Sports in April 1990, O'Brien took over the NBA Finals (the last that CBS did) hosting duties full-time. In 1988 and 1989, Pat O'Brien filled-in for Brent Musburger (who was busy covering the College World Series for CBS) as the NBA Finals anchor for Game 2.

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NBA on ABC

ABC's NBA logo from 2002 to 2006.

ABC's Coverage of the NBA, known as NBA Sunday on ABC since 2007, is a weekly presentation of National Basketball Association games on ABC television network in the United States, replacing the NBA on NBC. NBA Sunday typically airs on afternoons at 1:00 p.m. or 3:30 p.m. ET. During the NBA Finals, ABC presents games in prime time, mostly at 9:00 p.m. ET. Since its return to ABC in 2002, the show has been produced by sister network ESPN, and since 2006 has transferred all of its operations to ESPN, when ABC Sports became ESPN on ABC. Since then, it has been an ESPN program, and only has been identified as ABC's coverage of the NBA on ESPN. The program is sponsored by Hertz. This is the second time NBA games have aired on ABC; from 1962 to 1973, ABC was the main carrier of the NBA.

It was announced on June 27, 2007 that the NBA on ABC had been renewed through the 2015–2016 season.

The negotiations were closely watched by those in the business world, as it was the first time a league crafted a television deal in the new economic environment since 9/11. Declining television ratings on NBC had already led many to believe that the NBA's next television rights fee would be lower than previous years, and the economic recession made that a likely scenario. As predicted, NBC's offer to the league was lower than the previous agreement's amount. Had the NBA agreed to the network's offer, it would have been the first sports league to undergo a decline in rights fees. The NBA rejected NBC's offer and after the network's exclusive negotiating period with the league expired, ABC and ESPN stepped in. On January 22, 2002, the NBA signed a six-year deal with the Walt Disney Company and (then) AOL Time Warner, which resulted in ABC, ESPN, and TNT acquiring the rights to air league games. ABC and ESPN will reportedly pay an average of about $400 million a season. Technically, ESPN pays the NBA for its broadcast rights and "buys" time on ABC to air select games. In all, the contract allowed the NBA to increase its rights fees by 25 percent.

In addition, unlike NBC or NBC's predecessor CBS, ABC doesn't televise the NBA All-Star Game (instead, going to TNT). Also unlike the other networks, ABC rarely televises either of the NBA's Conference Finals series. Each year, TNT will air one Conference Final exclusively (the Western Conference Finals in 2003, 2004, and 2006, and the Eastern Conference Finals in 2005 and 2007), while ESPN will get the other. With the exception of 2004 (where they aired no Conference Final games at all), ABC airs only two of ESPN's Conference Final telecasts (Games 1 and 3 in 2003, Games 1 and 4 in 2005, and Game 4 in 2006) each year. The network was scheduled to air Game 7 of the 2006 Eastern Conference Finals but did not because the Miami Heat won the series in six games.

Outside of the Conference Finals, ABC generally airs playoff games throughout the first five weeks of the NBA Playoffs, in addition to a number of special primetime playoff games, usually televised on Thursday or Saturday nights. In 2005, ABC aired the first non-cable Memorial Day game in three years, when the Phoenix Suns and San Antonio Spurs battled in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals. Prior to the most recent NBA TV deal, Memorial Day playoff games had become a yearly tradition on network TV.

Unlike previous broadcast partners, ABC has never aired a non-Christmas regular season game after 3:30 p.m. ET. While NBC had several 5:30 p.m. start times for games, ABC has only gone beyond that time on Christmas, and for select playoff games. On March 20, 2005, ABC aired a pair of games regionally (San Antonio Spurs-Detroit Pistons and Phoenix Suns-Memphis Grizzlies) at 3:30 p.m. When the Spurs-Pistons game ended, the network did not switch the audience to the Suns–Grizzlies game (which was 94–91 late in the fourth quarter). Instead, viewers were sent to their local news. NBC rarely committed this practice, instead sending viewers of the completed game to view the end of the one still in progress.

In its first year of coverage, ABC used the exact same graphics as partner ESPN; only the "score bug" was different. This habit had already been put into practice by the network in regards to their NHL and college basketball coverage. However, ABC did have their own graphics (though similar to ESPN's at the time) for college football and other sports. For the 2003-2004 season, ABC established new graphics for the NBA, in an effort to differentiate their telecasts from ESPN's. On February 5, 2006, ABC established an all-new graphics package, including a Monday Night Football-esque bottomline scoreboard for the NBA. Also that day, ABC periodically placed a "Countdown to Super Bowl XL" graphic at the top of the screen (on March 5, 2006, ABC also inserted a "Countdown to the Oscars" graphic).

ESPN, and by proxy ABC, began using the graphics from Monday Night Football on games starting in 2006. To distinguish ABC's NBA telecast from ESPN's, the 3-D ABC logo is added near the score bug, but on international markets where ABC-featured NBA games are telecast live, the ABC logo is not present.

One common complaint about NBA coverage on ABC is of strange camera angles, including the Floorcam and Skycam angles used by ABC throughout its coverage. Other complaints are of camera angles that appear too far away, colors that seem faded and dull, and the quieting of crowd noise so that announcers can be heard clearly (by contrast to NBC, which allowed crowd noise to sometimes drown out their announcers).

Some complaints have concerned the promotion, or perceived lack thereof, of NBA telecasts. The 2003 NBA Finals received very little fanfare on ABC or corporate partner ESPN; while subsequent Finals were promoted more on both networks, NBA related advertisements on ABC were still down significantly from promotions on NBC. NBA promos took up 3 minutes and 55 seconds of airtime on ABC during the week of May 23, 2004 according to the Sports Business Daily, comparable to 2 minutes and 45 seconds for the Indianapolis 500. Promotions for the Indianapolis 500 outnumbered promotions for the NBA Finals fourteen-to-nine from the hours of 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm during that week.

A common complaint of the network's coverage of the 2007 NBA Finals was the amount of time ABC's Desperate Housewives actress Eva Longoria (whose husband is Spurs guard Tony Parker) was on camera, causing some to feel that the network was more concerned about getting reaction shots of her than showing the games. This was also a common complaint of the 2004 NBA Finals between the Detroit Pistons and Los Angeles Lakers, when they would continuously cut to long-time Lakers fan Jack Nicholson. There is also criticism of cross-promoting summer movies and other products during the series.

They were also criticized for focusing coverage on a select few teams, particularly the decision to schedule the Lakers against the Heat on Christmas Day for three straight years. However, for 2007, ABC has decided to break this tradition by instead having the Heat, for the fourth straight time, appear on Christmas Day facing the 2007 Eastern Conference Champions, the Cleveland Cavaliers. In 2008, the Boston Celtics replaced the Heat on the Christmas Day schedule and faced the Los Angeles Lakers.

ABC has changed the name its pregame show five times in five seasons, and has rotated several analysts in each season. For the 2006-2007 season, the pregame show is known as NBA Sunday Countdown. Each season, the show has been sponsored by GMC, with exception of the Finals, where it is sponsored by Chevrolet. Mike Tirico hosted the pregame show from ABC's first season with the NBA to the middle of the network's fourth with the league. On March 19, 2006, Tirico was replaced by ESPN's Dan Patrick, as Tirico was moved to the number two play-by-play team. On Christmas Day 2007, Stuart Scott became the new studio host, replacing Patrick, who left the network. Other hosts of the pregame show include former regular substitute John Saunders. The pregame show is best known for pre-empting that in North Dakota through its Forum Communications Company cluster for paid programming.

Nessler was joined by Bill Walton in a two-man booth. The team did two broadcasts together before ABC decided that Walton needed a partner (much like he had at NBC with Steve Jones) and assigned pregame analyst Tom Tolbert to join the team. Nessler, Walton, and Tolbert broadcast most regular season games, and every network playoff game. Other games were broadcast by the team of Brent Musburger and Sean Elliott. After the worst ratings in NBA Finals history, low ratings overall, and harsh criticism, ABC decided to retool the team.

After disastrous ratings in the 2003 NBA Finals, ABC decided to completely revamp their lead NBA broadcast team. Brad Nessler was demoted to the second broadcast team, where he was joined by Sean Elliott and Dan Majerle. Tom Tolbert was relegated to pregame show duties only, and Bill Walton was removed from ABC's NBA coverage altogether (he remained with ESPN). Meanwhile, longtime Monday Night Football commentator (and unofficial "Voice of ABC Sports") Al Michaels was hired to replace Nessler as lead broadcaster of the NBA.

For the first several weeks of the 2003-2004 season, Michaels had no partner. However, Doc Rivers, a critically acclaimed analyst when he worked with Turner Sports, became available after a 1-19 start by his Orlando Magic. Rivers was hired weeks before ABC's Christmas Day season opener. He and Michaels worked that game together, one of only six they did together during the regular season (all other games Rivers worked were with Brad Nessler). During the playoffs, the team worked every single telecast, including the 2004 NBA Finals, which saw great improvement in television ratings.

During the 2004 NBA Playoffs, Doc Rivers was hired by the Boston Celtics. Though Rivers continued to work games with Al Michaels throughout the rest of the playoffs, ABC would have to find a new lead analyst for the 2004-2005 season. In addition, the network dropped Brad Nessler from all NBA coverage, and did not retain Sean Elliott or Dan Majerle.

Early in the 2004-2005 season, ABC found a new partner for Al Michaels. Memphis Grizzlies coach Hubie Brown, a broadcasting legend with CBS, TBS, and TNT, was forced into retirement due to health reasons and was soon after hired to replace Doc Rivers. Michaels and Brown began their partnership on Christmas Day 2004, working the highly anticipated Shaquille O'Neal-Kobe Bryant game. After that game, the two did not do a game together again until March 2005. Michaels became sporadic in NBA coverage, doing two games in early March, and then three more games in April. Brown worked every week of ABC's coverage, broadcasting some games with veteran broadcaster Mike Breen.

In addition to Hubie Brown, ABC added other known analysts to its NBA coverage. Jim Durham and Dr. Jack Ramsay both worked several games during the regular season, while Brent Musburger, John Saunders, Len Elmore, and Mark Jackson were involved with others. Mike Breen and Dr. Jack Ramsay were the first secondary broadcast team to work a playoff game for ABC. Breen called three playoff games for the network in 2005, the most notable being Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals with Hubie Brown.

Al Michaels was criticised by the New York Post for not broadcasting the game and seeming disinterested with the NBA in general. Another criticism that Michaels received was that he too often found himself in tediously long-winded explanations. In return, he would be talking over two or three possessions in a row (which Michaels seemed to be better suited for football and baseball broadcasts, for which he's better known for). The end result was that he would hardly have time to comment on the action viewers were seeing because he was so hung up on a prior subplot or storyline that he felt the audience just had to know about.

Michaels, who had only broadcast a combined twelve regular season games with ABC (with all but one of those games airing from either Los Angeles, where he resides when not sportscasting, or Sacramento), did return for the NBA Finals, which scored its second lowest rating of all time (despite the fact that it was the first Finals in eleven years to go to a seventh game).

For the 2005-2006 season, Al Michaels and Hubie Brown were slated to remain as ABC's number one broadcast team. The duo worked that year's Christmas Day game between the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat and were expected to work the NBA Finals together as well. However, that plan did not come to fruition. After Michaels left ABC to cover Sunday Night Football for NBC, he was replaced by Mike Breen, who became the lead broadcaster for an over-the-air NBA package for the first time in his career. Breen worked the 2006 Eastern Conference Finals and 2006 NBA Finals with Hubie Brown for both ESPN and ABC, as well as all the main games ABC broadcast that year. The promotion of Breen gave ABC its first consistent lead broadcaster since Brad Nessler, as Breen worked games every week. Previously, Breen has worked the Eastern Conference Finals for NBC in 2001 and 2002, as well as the Western Conference Finals for ESPN in 2005.

Many sports writers and sports television analysts praised Breen, some for his explosive voice and excited calls on game-deciding and game-winning shots and others for the fact that, unlike his predecessor Al Michaels, he was already very familiar with broadcasting basketball games and was essentially a basketball lifer. Despite that, he faced some criticism from those who complained that they would prefer a more established voice, such as Marv Albert or Kevin Harlan. Hubie Brown faced criticism from writers (most notably Richard Sandomir of the New York Times) as well as bloggers and viewers.

For the secondary broadcast team, ABC reunited Bill Walton and Steve Jones for game coverage. Walton and Jones worked the Christmas Day 2005 broadcast between the San Antonio Spurs and Detroit Pistons for ABC, the first game they called together since Game 4 of the 2002 NBA Finals for NBC (NBC's last NBA telecast to date). The pair worked their first broadcast with Mike Breen, and worked the remainder of the season with Brent Musburger, Jim Durham, and Mike Tirico. That team, along with the Breen-Brown duo, now often does games on ESPN's Wednesday or Friday coverage, which the previous ABC announce teams rarely did.

During 2006, ABC also used several SportsCenter reporters, including Tom Rinaldi, Rachel Nichols and Jeremy Schaap, for pregame and halftime features.

Al Michaels called a total of 37 games for the NBA on ABC, his last being the Christmas Day game in 2005. Michaels finished his NBA on ABC career with a grand total of thirteen broadcast regular season games, and only two outside of California. From March 7, 2004 to April 17, 2005, including playoff games, each game Michaels called involved either the Lakers or Kings (a total of 21 consecutive games).

For the 2006-07 NBA season, ABC's sports operations were fully integrated into ESPN and as a result, Mark Jackson replaced Hubie Brown as ABC's lead analyst (Brown would still pair with Mike Breen on ESPN's number one team and Mike Tirico on ABC's number two team). ABC's pregame show, which Jackson was a part of, will air from the site of the main game each week (much like ABC's first season in 2003).

Additionally, Michele Tafoya returned as a sideline reporter, after sitting out the 2005-06 season on maternity leave.

On July 9, 2007, it was announced by Dan Patrick that he would be leaving ESPN after 18 years with the network. Stuart Scott hosts ABC's pregame show for the 2007-08 season along with analysts Bill Walton and Michael Wilbon. Jeff Van Gundy also joined Mike Breen and Mark Jackson full-time, starting Christmas Day. After Walton had back problems in February, Jon Barry replaced him for the rest of the season.

After the 1990s (when the NBA arguably reached its highest point in terms of popularity) many hardcore and casual fans began to associate the league with NBC, and more accurately, the network's theme music, Roundball Rock. Whereas NBC used Roundball Rock for all twelve years of its coverage, ABC has used at least nine themes in its first four years. Three of the themes were traditional sports themes, while six of them (We Got Hoops by Robert Randolph and the Family Band, Can't Get Enough by Justin Timberlake, Let's Get It Started by the Black Eyed Peas, Lose My Breath by Destiny's Child, This Is How A Heart Breaks by Rob Thomas and Runnin' Down a Dream by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers) were contemporary pieces by known artists.

For the 2006-07 NBA season, ESPN began using "Fast Break", ABC's NBA theme since 2004, as its theme. Because of the move to ESPN on ABC (which calls for all sporting events on ABC to have the same production elements as games on ESPN), this means that games on ABC will have the same theme music from previous years.

In addition, ABC selected all female pop group The Pussycat Dolls to perform "Right Now" as the new introduction for NBA games. This met with strong criticism from NBA fans, calling the music "wimpy", as opposed to TNT's using rap group Fort Minor's "Remember the Name", which has received acclaim from fans. ABC also used this music to promote the third season of Desperate Housewives. This came only months after NBC used female rock musician Pink to perform the open for Sunday Night Football.

For the 2008 season, "Nine Lives" by Def Leppard and Tim McGraw was used as ABC's new introductory song on their games. During the playoffs, ESPN also used the song prior to the start of the game.

According to a study by Simmons research, which involved a survey of an indeterminate number of American adults, the primary audience for the NBA Finals on ABC is primarily male, with a fairly even distribution of people aged 25-44 (approximately 20 percent of 25-34, 35-44 and 45-54 year old people surveyed said they watched the games). The statistics showed that 64.3 percent of the audience were white and 23.7 percent were African American. A combined 20.5 percent of those polled with income from $100,000 to $249,999 said they watched games, and Democrats watching outnumbered Republicans 49% to 34%. This research likely corresponds to the 2005 NBA Finals, as it was published in fall of that year.

The 2006 NBA Finals scored ratings of 20.4, 22.3, 20.6, 21.9, 23.8 and 24.6 among African Americans. African Americans accounted for 30 percent of ABC's audience for Game 6 of the series. Among Hispanics, the numbers for Games 3-5 were 6.0, 7.6, and 8.2, and nationally, the ratings were 8.0, 7.8 and 9.0.

In its first three years of coverage, ABC televised 40 playoff games, whereas NBC aired 35 in 2002 alone. The San Antonio Spurs have appeared on ABC thirty-six times, the most of any other team. The Charlotte Bobcats and Los Angeles Clippers have not appeared on ABC during the length of the current contract, whereas the San Antonio Spurs, Detroit Pistons, Los Angeles Lakers, and Dallas Mavericks have appeared on the network every year since 2002. The Atlanta Hawks did appear on ABC during the network's coverage in the 1960s and 1970s, including a Christmas Day game against the Phoenix Suns in 1970. They didn't appear until Game 7 of the 2008 1st Round Playoffs against the Boston Celtics.The Utah Jazz appearances have all come during the playoffs.

The Clippers in fact did have an appearance scheduled on ABC, for an April 15, 2007 home game versus the Sacramento Kings. However, due to the lackluster performances by both teams during the course of the season, ABC instead pulled the game from its schedule, and inserted a game between the Dallas Mavericks and San Antonio Spurs (which was already part of that day's regional doubleheader schedule), and that Kings-Clippers matchup was instead aired locally on each team's regional sports carrier, thus waiving ABC's exclusivity rule for that 3:30pm Eastern time slot.

The Los Angeles Lakers have appeared in ABC's featured Christmas Day game every season (against the Sacramento Kings in 2002, the Houston Rockets in 2003, the Miami Heat in 2004, 2005 and 2006, and the Phoenix Suns in 2007). After the Miami Heat, who have three Christmas Day appearances on ABC, the Sacramento Kings are the only other team to have repeat appearances on the holiday (in 2002 against the Lakers and in 2003 against the Mavericks).

Unlike its predecessors, (but very much like Fox Sports) ABC has been known to add shots of cheerleaders during pregame montages, as well as shots of the dance teams many times when coming back from a commercial break. During the 2003 NBA Playoffs, especially in the three games televised from Los Angeles, ABC would routinely cut to low-angle shots of attractive women in the stands, leading to the coining of the term "boob cam" by Pardon the Interruption host Tony Kornheiser among others.

During the 2004 NBA Playoffs, ABC and ESPN's telecasts were heavily sponsored by the feature film, The Day After Tomorrow. During the 2005 NBA Playoffs, games were sponsored by XXX: State of the Union and, during the Finals, Fantastic Four. From 2002 to 2005, ABC's halftime report was sponsored by Verizon Wireless. Starting with the 2005-06 season, it was sponsored by T-Mobile. From 2002 to 2005, ABC had a GMC sponsored feature known as the GMC Professional Grade Plays of the Week, which was later changed to the GMC Professional Grade Matchup during the 2005 NBA Playoffs. During the 2003 NBA Finals, ABC adopted one of ESPN's SportsCenter features, The Budweiser Hot Seat, which was hosted by Jim Gray. Other ESPN features that ABC has used include the Sprite Mad Skillz, and GameTrack or Storyline, which was sponsored by varied brands, including KFC and Volkswagen, ABC's telecast of the Miami Heat–Los Angeles Lakers game on Christmas Day 2004, was sponsored by American Express, also the NBA Sunday package after the All-Star break in 2007 became sponsored by Hertz.

As official sponsors of the NBA, T-Mobile, Sprite/Coca-Cola, Budweiser/Bud Light, American Express and Toyota each sponsor segments and/or have commercials aired during telecasts.

Since the beginning of the NBA on ABC, Ahmad Rashad has delivered weekly interviews with NBA players in a segment known as Access Ahmad. In addition, Rashad hosts NBA Access with Ahmad Rashad, a weekly show about the lives of NBA personalities. From 2003 to 2005, ABC's pregame show had a feature known as The NBA Minute, where celebrities (including Ice Cube, Samuel L. Jackson, and Ron Howard) would have a minute to talk about the NBA.

From 1962 up until 1973, ABC was the primary television partner of the NBA. For much of the 1960s, ABC only televised Sunday afternoon games, including the playoffs. This meant that ABC did not have to televise a potential NBA Finals deciding game if it was played on a weeknight. In 1969, ABC did televise Game 7 of the Los Angeles Lakers–Boston Celtics series in prime time on a weeknight. The following season, ABC aired the 1970 NBA Finals in full, making it the first NBA Final to have all games televised nationally.

Commentators for the original NBA on ABC included play-by-play men Keith Jackson and Chris Schenkel and analysts Jack Twyman, Bob Cousy, and Bill Russell. On April 8, 1967, an AFTRA strike forced ABC Sports producer Chuck Howard and director Chet Forte to call Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals between Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers. Curt Gowdy also was the play-by-play for half of the season in 1967.

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Source : Wikipedia