View Full Version : Compliment to ABC and the NBA for the TV coverage

06-11-2004, 10:00 AM
Yes I know there is a thread ripping Al Michaels and ABC, I have read that thread, but I want to commend both the NBA and ABC for the excellent coverage of these Finals.

Yes I know AL makes a lot of mistakes and yes it is obvious he has never called NBA games before this season.

But I want to give credit where I think credit is due, it is so easy to be negative towards the TV coverage.

Thank you NBA and ABC for not having the stupid halftime shows they have had the past couple of years. No more lame singers at halftime. Yes they actually talk basketball again and have a player feature.

Thank you to ABC for actually putting together a decent pregame show. No I don't like Tom Tolbert, and B. Scott is OK, but they are at least talking baskeball. And I enjoy the player features and then the interviews courtside with past stars have been good.

ABC has really improved their presentation of the games compared to last season Finals. From the intro, the "Let's get it started" song to the hyping of the game, to the replays, the camera work, just the technical aspects of covering a game are so much better and I would say it is now on par with what NBC was.

I realize some of you don't like Doc Rivers, but I think he is excellent, so so much better than Bill Walton and Tom Tolbert of last season.

This year I know I am watching a basketball game, instead of an entertainment vehicle.

I also want to comment on some of the ESPN guys that are on a lot.

Greg Anthony is very good, he provides solid analysis, and I respect his opinion, same with Tim Legler.

Steven A Smith, a little goes a long way. The less of him the better.

I want more of David Aldridge, Ric Bucher and George Karl.

06-11-2004, 10:06 AM
While I can't say I ever want more George Karl (none is enough for me) I agree with your general point.

It seems the terrible ratings have given the NBA the incentive to trim the fat off of their bloated finals coverage and get back to their strengths.

06-11-2004, 10:12 AM
I miss Bill Walton. I know that's about as unpopular on here as being a Jalen Rose fan or posting one of Peter Vecsey's columns, but with Bill Walton you've got a guy who appreciates and understands the history of professional basketball, good coaching and fundatmentals, the importance of team play, etc. Sure, his in-game comments can be over the top, but that doesn't bother me.

Anyway, this is a great interview that was in yesterday's Trib., and a fine plug for the program on the History channel (tonight, I think.)


Fred Mitchell's Q&A: Bill Walton
June 10, 2004

The NBA Hall of Famer is a proud father after watching his son, Luke Walton, help the Lakers even the NBA Finals Tuesday night.

Q Can you be more thrilled after watching Luke help the Lakers salvage an overtime victory over the Pistons Tuesday night with eight assists, seven points and six rebounds?

A I am the proudest dad in the world. That game was unbelievable. I have been going to Lakers games for 34 years. The fans were teasing me. They said, "Bill, we have never seen you smile so much." James Worthy said to me, "Bill, I have seen it all now. You, at the Staples Center, wearing a gold Lakers shirt and cheering for Karl Malone. You have come full circle."

Q How does this week rank on the excitement meter among all of the many personal accomplishments you achieved on the basketball court?

A This is as special a week for me as I have ever had in my life. To be able to go out to the Staples Center now and see one of my sons out there and the fans chanting, "Luke! Luke! Luke!" Luke was named for Maurice Lucas, the greatest teammate I ever had in my life. Maurice played in that game in 1977. He was there [Tuesday] night and tears of pride were flowing down my cheeks.

Q I know you're very respectful of the pioneers in the NBA. Is that why you decided to get involved in narrating Friday night's special on the History Channel that explores the partnership between Bill Russell and Red Auerbach?

A It is as fine and important a project as I have ever been involved in. I grew up in the heart of Laker country. Chick Hearn taught me how to think about basketball while broadcasting games involving Jerry West and Elgin Baylor. And yet I was a Celtics fan. Bill Russell was my favorite player ever. The first book I bought was "Going For Glory" with Red Auerbach. It changed my life. Even though I am adamantly against smoking of all kind, Red would light up that victory cigar and a young Bill Walton would try to get through the red hair and the freckles and the speech impediment and stumble and say: "Go, Celtics, go!" And now I am the narrator of "The Player and the Coach." Those two guys, they changed everything because of the willingness of Red Auerbach to take a chance with the draft-trade for Bill Russell, being an African-American. This was two years after Brown vs. the Board of Education.

Q The Lakers salvaged a win Tuesday night. But do you sense the Pistons are poised for the upset in this series?

A Karl Malone and Gary Payton are struggling right now. The Pistons are younger, fresher, deeper and a more complete team. Larry Brown has to convince them that the offensive attack has to be changed. They cannot think that they have done anything yet. There is nothing more meaningless than being tied at the end of the first quarter. Which is where both teams find themselves right now.

Q What do you think the chances are that the Lakers will remain fairly intact next season?

A You have to look at today. And that is why I admire Phil Jackson. He doesn't really let all the exterior nonsense get in the way of what he is trying to do. I can't think of why any of those guys would ever think about wanting to leave the Lakers. I told Luke on the day he got drafted that he was the luckiest guy in the entire draft. That includes LeBron (James) and Carmelo (Anthony). Luke is 24, single, living on the beach and playing for the Lakers. You know, enjoy today. Get on your bike and go up and down the boardwalk. Have a big smile on your face and get to work.

Have a question or an idea for Fred Mitchell?
Copyright 2004, The Chicago Tribune

06-11-2004, 10:20 AM
UB, I tend to agree with most of what you said. I do have some complaints. Not necessarily with ABC but with TV coverage in general.

Why oh why do they show the coaches, the bench and do interviews while the game is in progress.

Like anyone really cares what Jackson and Brown are doing while the guards are bring the ball up the court or they are running a fast break.

They can conduct interviews and still show the action on the court. We don't need to see who they are interviewing.

With Michaels doing the broadcast, you had better be watching the game to see what is happening. How many times have the cameras been on the crowd, bench or something else, when a foul occurs and the camera then pans back to the court just as the players are walking to the foul line.

Michaels then makes one of his famous statements "There has been a foul or was that traveling" "Yes, it was a foul". He doesn't bother to tell anyone who the foul was on.

Anyway, so much for my ranting and go Pistons. I am loving the "Leastern Conference" dominance. :pepper: :dance: :D :cool:

06-11-2004, 12:27 PM
Actually I like when they say what the coaches said during timeouts, I think that's good insight and tells you what they players are supposed to be going for next (be it rebounds, better D, specific offense, whatever).

06-11-2004, 12:37 PM
Actually I like when they say what the coaches said during timeouts, I think that's good insight and tells you what they players are supposed to be going for next (be it rebounds, better D, specific offense, whatever).

I agree.

One interesting thing about that. If you watch and listen closely, you always hear more about what Larry Brown says in the huddles. That is because LB has no problem with the sideline reporters listening in.

Carlisle did not allow it, nor does Phil Jackson.

In the Finals all the info is coming from Kurt Rambis. You'll notice Michelle Tafoya say that Kurt Rambis said such and such. Same with the Pcers, Jim Gray always had second hand info from the assistant coach or players.

I always saw Jim Gray walking around huddles, and as soon as the huddles broke he would grab a Pacers bench player or assistant coach to get what Rick had to say.

Larry Brown was not even upset when ABC reported that LB told his team that the Lakers can't guard them, and they can get any shot they want.

Brown is also one of the only coaches in the league who lets the media into practices.

06-11-2004, 12:47 PM
I like that the mics always seem to pick up Rasheed yelling "The ball ain't gonna lie!" after the Lakers miss a free throw following a questionable foul call.

06-11-2004, 01:31 PM
I'll second the pro-Bill-Walton feelings. He keeps me entertained. There aren't many color guys that give useful information (things I didn't already know) anyway, so I'd just as soon have Walton because he can make me laugh.

Doc Rivers . . . . :puke: . Thank you Boston for hiring this guy to get him off my tv set next year and BOO to the Magic for firing him so he could be there this year.