Sports Medley: TV
Coverage of NBA Playoffs 6 Jun 16
by Tony Medley
an opportunity for either team to try to take over this game; This is a
great opportunity.” Mark Jackson, ABC, with 4:24 left in the third
quarter and Golden State leading 63-62. What followed were six lead
changes in the next 4 minutes. Jackson never explained exactly why this
was such a great opportunity, but neither team took advantage of
whatever it was. Let’s face it, it was a senseless statement. One could
probably say that at any point in any game, but why?
“They’ve got to do a
better job.” Mark Jackson, again, every five minutes ad nauseam.
Poor Mark. After being fired by Golden State and seeing his replacement
immediately turn the team into one of the best ever, and after paying
extortion to a stripper apparently to try to save his marriage and
reputation, he’s been put in an impossible situation where he is
required to say something intelligent about basketball, but he just
doesn’t have anything to say. It says a lot about ABC and ESPN that they
hired him and keep him on because he contributes exactly nothing to the
broadcast (not that Jeff van Gundy does, either, though, see below).
The “Attaboy” shot
that isolates the player who just scored as he jogs back down court
should be banned forever. Viewers want to see the action with the ball,
not a visual reward for a scorer. It risks missing presses and steals
and all sorts of action occurring with the ball off camera.
It’s time to retire
“downtown,” as in “Curry, from DOWNTOWN!” Three point shots are no
longer from “downtown.” They are as common as a layup and, from one who
played a lot of basketball (me), much easier.
TNT has a new
definition of “instant replay.” They rarely show the play just ended,
which is what we want to see. Instead, when there’s a break in action,
they show a play several plays previous, even if the last one was a key
play. TNT’s version should be called “delayed replay.”
“His hands are so
underrated,” Chris Webber, TNT. Words fail me on this one. I tried to
find the ratings for hands, but failed.
The NBA should have
the best commentators during the playoffs and especially for the
championship series. The absence of Hubie Brown from the broadcasting
team for the Championship Series is a disgrace. Hubie is the best color
commentator of any sport anywhere (well, at least on a par with John
McEnroe, but basketball is a much more complex sport than tennis, so
Hubie’s job is that much more difficult). He tells what’s going on as
it’s going on and explains the intricacies so a layperson can understand
and watch it. He knows basketball better than all these former players
and coaches put together, and he explains it better, as it’s happening.
His commentary makes the games immensely more enjoyable.
In the second game
between Golden State and Cleveland, LeBron James lowered his shoulder
and ran over a Golden State player and was called for an obvious
offensive foul. He looked like Jim Brown running over a linebacker. But
Van Gundy said he didn’t see any foul there. This guy is an “expert?”
He’s there, apparently, to utter controversial Howard Cosell-isms. But
Howard was a laughingstock on Monday Night Football because he didn’t
know what he was talking about and ABC kept him on because his
know-it-all attitude irritated so many people that ratings soared as
more people tuned in to see what silly thing Howard would say next. Van
Gundy and Webber and Jackson are apparently supposed to be taken
seriously. For me they are simply a reason to turn off the sound.
Later in the same
game, Jackson went on a maudlin monologue about what Muhammed Ali meant
to him. He went on and on and on while the game was progressing; points
were being scored, leads were changing hands! That’s outrageous.
The idea of
commentators is to comment on the game they are broadcasting, not to
give some eulogy to someone who has just died. It’s not entirely
Jackson’s fault; it’s ESPN’s and ABC’s, who allow this sort of nonsense.
Listening to the jabber of Jackson and van Gundy is like listening to
stream of consciousness blather.