Make no mistake, LeBron James and the Miami Heat are the hottest story still going in the NBA — the team’s games broadcast on TNT and ESPN have seen ratings increases of 69 percent compared to Heat games a year ago.
But taken Miami out of the equation completely and ratings are still up 23 percent on nationally broadcast games. Overall, NBA television ratings are up 30 percent this season according to the Associated Press.
ESPN is seeing big boosts in big markets this season — their NBA game ratings are up 58 percent in Los Angeles, 56 percent in Boston and 36 percent in New York.
There is a real buzz around the NBA right now like there hasn’t been since at least the Shaq/Kobe Lakers three-peat days, and more likely back to Jordan. Both sides would do well to remember that when they walk in the room to create the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. Imagine what a lockout will do to that buzz.