Oklahoma City and Miami are not big markets — Miami is 14th largest among NBA teams, Oklahoma City 28th.
But the NBA is a star-driven league — the names involved matter more than where the team is from. And with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Kevin Durant you knew that David Stern would be happy, that this was going to be a big ratings draw finals for the NBA.
Game 1 was — it got an 11.8 rating that is a 10 increase over last year’s Game 1 (Miami vs. Dallas), ESPN announced. It even beat the 2004 NBA finals Game 1, back when Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant were still teammates and civil. Barely.
That is not Jordan era numbers, but it’s the best we’ve seen since then. (And we never may see Jordan era numbers again because of the fragmentation of media, the internet and all that. Different times, different media consumption.)
The game drew a massive 44.3 rating in Oklahoma City, the highest for an NBA game ever in the market. In Miami, the game generated a 30.5 rating.
The fifth highest rated market? Cleveland (17.8). I think those people liked how the game turned out.
When you ask Lakers fans for bold predictions, you get the delusional to come out of the woodwork.
Most Lakers fans I know — remember, I’m a former Laker blogger living in So Cal, even my optometrist wants to talk Lakers during my eye exam — are realistic about where the team is in the rebuild process. Like me, they want to see a healthy season of Kobe Bryant where he can choose whether or not to continue his career on his terms, not Father Time’s.
But Lakers exceptionalism is a thing, and there are Lakers fans living in a fantasy land.
That’s what Jenna Corrado and I get to in the latest PBT Extra: There are Lakers fans that think they are playoff bound. And there are people who expect even more than that from this team this year — like Kobe Bryant to return to MVP form. Those people need to stop taking so much glaucoma medication.
NEW YORK (AP) — A lawyer representing a professional basketball player arrested outside a New York City nightclub has told a jury his client was targeted because he’s black.
Attorney Alex Spiro said Tuesday in Manhattan Criminal Court that a white police officer saw a black man in a hoodie when he confronted the Atlanta Hawks’ Thabo Sefolosha on April 8.
Sefolosha was arrested while leaving a Manhattan nightclub following a stabbing. He subsequently suffered a season-ending leg fracture after a confrontation with police.
A prosecutor said in opening statements that Sefolosha called an officer who repeatedly told him and others to leave a “midget.”
Sefolosha pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest charges. The Swiss citizen declined a plea deal from prosecutors.