NBA on NBC

The NBA on NBC is the branding used for presentations of National Basketball Association (NBA) games produced by the NBC television network in the United States. NBC held broadcast rights from 1955 to 1962 and again from 1990 (when it obtained the rights from CBS) to 2002. During NBC's partnership with the NBA in the 1990s, the league rose to unprecedented popularity, with ratings surpassing the days of Magic Johnson and Larry Bird in the mid-1980s.

NBA on NBC
Nba on nbc
NBA on NBC logo used from 2000 to 2002
GenreNBA game telecasts
Presented byMarv Albert
Kevin Harlan
Mike Fratello
Michele Tafoya
Bob Costas
Theme music composerJohn Tesh[1]
Opening theme"Roundball Rock" (1991–2002 version)[2]
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons8 (19541962 version)
12 (19902002 version)
20 (total)
Production
Production location(s)Various NBA arenas (game telecasts)
NBC Studios, New York City, New York (studio segments, pre-game and post-game shows)
Camera setupMulti-camera
Running time150 minutes or until game ends
Production company(s)NBC Sports
Release
Original networkNBC
Picture format480i (SDTV),
1080i (HDTV)
Original release
  • First run:
    October 30, 1954 – April 7, 1962
  • Second run:
    November 3, 1990 – June 12, 2002
  • WNBA on NBC:
    June 21, 1997 – August 31, 2002
Chronology
Preceded byNBA on CBS
Followed byNBA on ABC
External links
Website

Overview

Background

NBC's first tenure with the National Basketball Association began on October 30, 1954 and lasted until April 7, 1962. On November 9, 1989, the NBA reached an agreement with the network worth US$600 million contract to broadcast the league's games for four years, beginning with the 1990–91 season. On April 28, 1993, NBC extended its exclusive broadcast rights to the NBA with a four-year, $750 million contract.[3]

Coverage

NBC's coverage of the NBA[4] began on Christmas Day each season, with the exception of the inaugural season in 1990 (which featured a game on November 3[5] between the Los Angeles Lakers and the San Antonio Spurs), the 1997–98 season (which included a preseason tournament featuring the Chicago Bulls), the 1998–99 season (as no Christmas games were played due to the 1998–99 NBA lockout), and the final season of the network's contract in 2001–02 (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 the 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 during the first two weeks of the playoffs. Prior to 2000, NBC would air a doubleheader on Saturday, followed by a tripleheader on Sunday.

On December 30, 2000, NBC aired a rare second December game. The Saturday match was the only time that NBC aired a game between Christmas Day and the start of the regular run of games in February. 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 the September 11 attacks. 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 PacersSacramento Kings game).

Music

Nba on nbc old logo
NBA on NBC logo used from 1990 to 2000.

The theme music for the NBA on NBC broadcasts, "Roundball Rock", was composed by new-age artist John Tesh. The instrumental piece, which NBC used for every telecast during the network's twelve-year tenure. Although Tesh offered the theme to ABC when it took over the rights to the league, the network declined.[6]

In 1991, "The Dream is Still Alive" by Wilson Phillips was played during the end of the season montage. Afterwards, until 1996, NBC would play the rock song "Winning It All" by The Outfield[7] during its end-of-season montage. From 1997 to 2001, several contemporary music pieces were used for the montage (including, in 1997, R. Kelly's song "I Believe I Can Fly", which coincidentally came from a basketball film – Space Jam, which starred Michael Jordan and Pat Benatar's song "All Fired Up" from 1999 to 2001). After the 1999 Finals, NBC used "Fly Away" by Lenny Kravitz 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, and again in 2016. In December 2018, Fox Sports acquired the rights to "Roundball Rock" for use during college basketball games.

Segments

The pre-game show for NBC's NBA telecasts was NBA Showtime, a title that was used from 1990 until 2000, with the pre-game being unbranded afterward. Showtime was originally hosted by Bob Costas from the inaugural season of the 1990 contract to the 1995–96 season; Hannah Storm took over as host beginning with the 1996–97 season, who in turn was replaced by Ahmad Rashād in 2001 when Storm went on maternity leave. The video game NBA Showtime: NBA on NBC, by Midway Games, was named after the pregame show.

During the NBA Finals, additional coverage would be immediately available on CNBC, in which the panelists provided an additional half-hour of in-depth game discussions, after the NBC broadcast network's coverage concluded.

The halftime show was sponsored by Prudential Financial (Prudential Halftime Report), and later NetZero (NetZero at the Half) and Verizon Wireless (Verizon Wireless at the Half). The broadcasts also featured a segment during the live games called Miller Genuine Moments, which provided a brief retrospective 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, in which each analyst (at that time, Pat Croce, Jayson Williams or Mike Fratello) would have 24 seconds to talk about issues concerning the NBA. NBC (in conjunction with completely revamping the pregame show) discontinued the segment in February 2002, after Williams was arrested on murder charges.

Ratings

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 1999 Finals. In 1998, the NBA set a Finals ratings record, with an 18.7 household rating for the second Chicago BullsUtah Jazz series, the last championship run by the Michael Jordan-led Bulls. The very next year (after a lockout which erased part of the season), the ratings for the 1999 Finals plummeted, marking the beginning of an ongoing period of lower viewership for the league's game telecasts.[8] In 2002, NBC set a record for the highest-rated Western Conference Final, including a 14.2 rating 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.

The end of The NBA on NBC

Upon the expiration of NBC Sports' contract with the NBA in 2002, the league signed a broadcast television rights agreement with ABC, which began airing games in the 2002–03 season. NBC had made a four-year, US $1.3 billion bid in the spring of 2002 to renew its NBA rights, but the league instead made six-year deals worth $4 billion with ESPN, ABC and TNT.[9]

Simply put, NBC could not compete with the combined broadcast and cable[10] deal that Disney had with ESPN and ABC. To put things into proper perspective, when NBC's relationship with the NBA ended in 2002, their only cable properties were CNBC and MSNBC. The major leagues receive more money from cable[11] than broadcast, due to the duel revenue stream of subscriptions and ad revenue. It took a decade for NBC to have a strong cable portfolio, which now includes USA, E!, SyFy, and NBC Sports Network, amongst other channels. Another thing to keep in mind is the fact that NBC lost $35 million[12] because of the failure of the XFL. As Charles Barkley summed it up during halftime of Game 1 of the 2002 NBA Finals[13] "If y'all hadn't wasted all that money on the XFL, y'all would still have basketball."[14]

Whereas NBC normally televised 33 regular games per year, ABC would generally air fewer than 20 regular season games annually. According to NBA Commissioner David Stern, the reduced number of network telecasts was at the league'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) 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.

In response to the impending loss of NBA coverage, NBC Entertainment president Jeff Zucker said:

We lost football two years ago, and we stayed a strong No. 1. We lost baseball, and we stayed a strong No. 1. Now we're about to lose basketball, and I believe we'll stay a strong No. 1. The fact is, it's had no impact on our prime time strength. . . NBC can now program all of Sunday nights without going around basketball. I think that's a huge advantage for us. We haven't been able for the last several years to put a program at 8 o'clock (such as American Dreams) because we've had the NBA.

Within two years of the network losing the NBA rights, NBC dropped to fourth place in the prime time television rankings for the first time in its history, which was also partly the result of a weaker prime time schedule, and would more or less remain there until for almost nine years.

NBC Sports chairman Dick Ebersol said:

The definition of winning has become distorted. If winning the rights to a property brings with it hundreds of millions of dollars in losses, what have you won? When faced with the prospect of heavy financial losses, we have consistently walked away and have done so again. ... We wish the NBA all the best. We have really enjoyed working with them for more than a decade to build the NBA brand.[15]

Ebersol added:

We walked away from the N.F.L., because it was the right thing to do, and we stayed No. 1 in prime-time in all the important aspects. We walked away from baseball because it was the right thing to do and we don't have to take off our fall shows to show playoff games. The N.B.A. was asking us to lose hundreds of millions of dollars.[16]

In a down economy, after losing $100 million[17] on the NBA in 2000-2001, NBC was projecting a $200-million loss in 2001-2002[18]. The NBA also saw its NBC ratings[19] for the regular season fall from 4.3 in 1999 to 3.0 in 2000. Meanwhile, and the playoff ratings[20] dipped from 6.5 to 4.9.

NBC network president Randy Falco said:

We have a responsibility to our shareholders.

NBC's last NBA telecast to date was Game 4 of the 2002 NBA Finals, which closed with highlights from the network's 12-year run with the league, through the Chicago Bulls' dynasty led by Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, the retirement of Larry Bird and Magic Johnson and the Los Angeles Lakers' new Shaq/Kobe reign. The final image of the end montage was set in an empty gym, showing a basketball bouncing into the background and ending with the message, "Thanks for The Memories." Prior to the sequence, match commentators Marv Albert, Steve Jones and Bill Walton evaluated the end of their NBA contract and of the series. After that, Bob Costas closed the network's last NBA broadcast with the following:

Okay, Marv, thanks very much. And as Marv himself would say, "it should be pointed out" that Marv is celebrating his forty-ninth birthday tonight for a record twelfth consecutive year. Well, another season is in the books. The Lakers' title run continues with perhaps no end in sight. But as Marv said, we have reached the end of our run with the NBA. NBC's twelve years televising the league had been filled with indelible moments. And so, as we say good night, here's an appreciative look back. And for one last time, you've been watching the NBA on NBC.

[21]

TNT airs many of the NBA's marquee games (the NBA All-Star Game, a full Conference Final (alternating between the Western Conference in even-numbered years and the Eastern conference in odd-numbered years), Opening Night games, and the vast majority of playoff games). In recent years, fans have reckoned it as what NBC was during that network's coverage of the league.[22] TNT would seem to be the NBA's preferred carrier as well; from 2003 to 2005, TNT aired the Conference Final with the most interest from the national media (Spurs-Mavericks in 2003, Lakers-Wolves in 2004 and Pistons-Heat in 2005). TNT also airs most of the big games during the regular season (TNT aired a Lakers-Heat game for the third straight year in 2007), and TNT studio content is streamed to NBA.com via the TNT Overtime section.

Many NBA games currently air with NBC Sports branding as part of the various NBC Sports Regional Networks' (formerly known as Comcast SportsNet) broadcast rights with individual NBA teams.

Announcers

1954–1962

As previously mentioned, NBC Sports first broadcast the NBA from the 1954–55 through 1961–62 seasons. The announcers during this period[23] included:

The 1959 NBA All-Star Game marked the first time that the All-Star Game was nationally televised. However, NBC only broadcast the second half at 10 p.m. Eastern Time, in lieu of its Friday Night Fights telecast.

1990–1997

NBC's first broadcast team of the 1990s–2000s era was made up of Marv Albert and Mike Fratello, with Ahmad Rashād serving as sideline reporter. Other broadcasters at the time included Dick Enberg and Steve "Snapper" Jones. Aside from Rashad, Jim Gray and Hannah Storm also handled sideline reporting duties; before becoming the television voice of the Spurs, Lakers and Pelicans, Joel Meyers also started as a sideline reporter for NBC. Bob Costas presided as host of the network's pre-game show, NBA Showtime.

In 1992, basketball legend Earvin "Magic" Johnson became a top game analyst (alongside the likes of Enberg, Albert and Fratello); however, his performance was heavily criticized.[24] Among the complaints were his apparently poor diction skills, his tendency for "stating the obvious", his habitual references to his playing days, and an 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 Jones and play-by-play announcers Dick Enberg, Tom Hammond or Greg Gumbel), broadcast the next two Finals (1996 and 1997) together in a three-man booth.

1998–2000

1997 was the last time Marv Albert would call the NBA Finals for NBC during the decade, as 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 pre-game 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. Thomas, in particular, was singled out for his soft voice and often stammered analysis.[25]

The team of Costas, Thomas and Collins worked the major games that season including the 1998 NBA Finals (which set an all-time ratings record for the NBA). Mike Breen, who played second fiddle to Albert on MSG Network's New York Knicks broadcasts, was hired to do select playoff games that year and was later promoted to backup announcer status. 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. Albert was brought back for the 1999–2000 season, 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.

2000–2001

The 2000–2001 season brought to an end to 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 again be the lead broadcaster for the NBA, and stayed on only to deliver interviews and special features. On the studio front, Hannah Storm left her position as studio host to go on maternity leave, with Ahmad Rashād taking over for Storm; Isiah Thomas left NBC to become coach of the Indiana Pacers. Joining Ahmad Rashād were former Phoenix Suns player Kevin Johnson and former NBA coach P. J. Carlesimo. Marv Albert joined Doug Collins as the primary broadcast team, and the two broadcast the 2001 NBA Finals, which had the highest ratings for a Finals match since 1998. After the season, Collins was hired away from NBC by the Washington Wizards, which forced the network to move the longtime secondary color duo of Steve 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 its NBA coverage with its then-popular quiz show The Weakest Link. Two 10-minute editions of The Weakest Link aired during halftime of Games 2 and 3, featuring Bob Costas, Bill Walton and Steve Jones as contestants, along with Charlotte Hornets guard Baron Davis and WNBA team Los Angeles Sparks's center, Lisa Leslie.

2001–2002

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 a broadcast television network aired more than one pre-Christmas NBA game since CBS in the 1980s.

That year also marked the return of Hannah Storm from maternity leave, with her and Ahmad Rashād alternating as studio hosts throughout the 2002 season. That year, NBC's studio team consisted of Rashad and Storm with former Philadelphia 76ers owner Pat Croce, the returning Mike Fratello, and 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 limousine driver. He was promptly fired by 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 NBC Sports 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 sports columnist Rudy Martzke. Hannah Storm was not able to anchor the 2002 NBA All-Star Game as she was on assignment at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City serving as daytime studio host; Rashad solo anchored from the studio.

In June 2002, Ahmad Rashād told the Los Angeles Times, in an interview conducted before the 2002 NBA Finals began, that he would be ending his 20-year run with NBC Sports, after hosting the pre-game show for Game 3 of the Finals.[26] Hannah Storm, meanwhile, covered the 2002 NBA Finals as host of the CNBC post-game show.

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 limousine 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. In January 2002, the league announced a six-year agreement with The Walt Disney Company and AOL Time Warner, which resulted in the broadcast television rights being acquired by ABC. That year, NBC's playoff ratings were much higher than in previous years, including tallying 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.

List of broadcasters

Voice-over artists

Jim Fagan's voice was heard in nearly every single NBA telecast on NBC; as the voice behind "This is the NBA on NBC", he also did several voice-over promotions for the network's game broadcasts, along with "arena announcer" duties in EA Sports's NBA Live video game series. Mitch Phillips also did voice-over work for the broadcasts, primarily for promotions.[27]

Criticisms

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

Statistics

Games televised / television contracts per season (NBC)
Season 1990–91 1991–92 1992–93 1993–94 1994–95 1995–96 1996–97 1997–98 1999 1999–2000 2000–01 2001–02
Games 46 52 55 55 54 54 54 54 58 71 69 69
Contracts $601 million/4 years $892 million/4 years $1.616 billion/4 years

References

  1. ^ John Tesh's Facebook page
  2. ^ NBA on NBC Theme on YouTube
  3. ^ "November 9, 1989: The NBA signs a lucrative 4-year television deal with NBC". Sports Media Watch.
  4. ^ ""NBA on NBC" Regular Season TV Schedules – 1990–2002". The506.com.
  5. ^ "NBA on NBC introduces "Roundball Rock" theme song". NBC Sports History Page.
  6. ^ "John Tesh on the enduring legacy of 'Roundball Rock': 'It's fun for me to watch it take on its own life'". For The Win. October 26, 2018. Retrieved October 28, 2018.
  7. ^ "Welcome to THEOUTFIELD.com". TheOutfield.com.
  8. ^ Bill Carter (March 20, 2000). "Basketball Ratings Hit a Slump at NBC And That Is Costly". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved July 29, 2011.
  9. ^ Richard Sandomir (January 9, 2002). "Cable Is Said to Muscle Out NBC for N.B.A. Rights". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved July 29, 2011.
  10. ^ Sandomir, Richard (December 15, 2001). "PRO BASKETBALL; Cable Is Said to Muscle Out NBC for N.B.A. Rights". The New York Times.
  11. ^ Sandomir and Wise, Richard and Mike (June 12, 2002). "PRO BASKETBALL; Final Buzzer For NBC and N.B.A." The New York Times.
  12. ^ "Ex-NBC Sports Employee: Dick Ebersol Is The Biggest Failure Of Them All". Deadspin. January 16, 2010.
  13. ^ 2002 NBA Finals Lakers vs Nets - Game 1 on YouTube
  14. ^ "Potent quotables over the years". Sports Business Daily. December 9, 2013.
  15. ^ "SportsBusinessDaily.com". Sports Business Daily.
  16. ^ "BASKETBALL; NBC Will Live Without N.B.A. and Without Losses From It". The New York Times.
  17. ^ Maffei, John (December 21, 2001). "NBC appears likely to lose NBA, too". The San Diego Union Tribune.
  18. ^ Penner, Mike (December 18, 2001). "NBC Exit Strategy Begins NBA Spin". Los Angeles Times.
  19. ^ Dukcevich, Davide (December 18, 2001). "The NBA Is Blowing It". Forbes.
  20. ^ Concon, Josh (September 12, 2009). "NBA on NBC: When Basketball Was Basketball". Bleacher Report.
  21. ^ The Final Closing Credits To The NBA on NBC on YouTube
  22. ^ "Old School Friday". SLAMonline. August 11, 2006. Retrieved June 30, 2015.
  23. ^ "The NBA on NBC: 1954–55 to 1961–62". The506.com.
  24. ^ Bill Simmons (September 27, 2002). "Magic's Act". ESPN. Archived from the original on December 10, 2002.
  25. ^ Ryan Yoder (January 25, 2012). "Top 10 Sports Media Busts". Awful Announcing. Retrieved July 28, 2012.
  26. ^ Larry Stewart (June 10, 2002). 10 articles.latimes.com/2002/june/10 "Walton Delivers the Jabs, O'Neal the Knockout" Check |url= value (help). Los Angeles Times. Times Mirror Company. Retrieved May 19, 2011.
  27. ^ NBA NBC 1993 Promo on YouTube

External links

Preceded by
DuMont
NBA network broadcast partner
19551962
Succeeded by
SNI
Preceded by
CBS
NBA network broadcast partner
19902002
Succeeded by
ABC
Preceded by
League created
WNBA network broadcast partner
19972002
Succeeded by
ABC
1997–98 Detroit Pistons season

The 1997–98 NBA season was the Pistons' 50th season in the National Basketball Association, and 41st season in the city of Detroit. Despite signing free agents Brian Williams and Malik Sealy during the offseason, the Pistons got off to a slow start with a 6–11 record as Joe Dumars missed ten games due to hamstring and shoulder injuries. In late December, they traded Theo Ratliff and Aaron McKie to the Philadelphia 76ers for Jerry Stackhouse and Eric Montross. At midseason, head coach Doug Collins was fired after a 21–24 start, and was replaced with Alvin Gentry. Collins would later on get a job as color analyst for the NBA on NBC. Despite another stellar season from Grant Hill, who was selected for the 1998 NBA All-Star Game, the Pistons missed the playoffs finishing sixth in the Central Division with a 37–45 record. Following the season, Sealy signed as a free agent with the Minnesota Timberwolves, Grant Long re-signed with the Atlanta Hawks, and Rick Mahorn re-signed with the Philadelphia 76ers.

Bob Ferry

Robert Dean Ferry (born May 31, 1937) is an American retired basketball player and executive.

A 6'8" center from Saint Louis University, Ferry was selected by the St. Louis Hawks with the seventh pick of the 1959 NBA draft. Ferry played ten seasons in the NBA with the Hawks, Detroit Pistons and Baltimore Bullets, scoring 5,780 points and grabbing 3,343 rebounds. After his playing career ended, he became an assistant coach and later general manager for the Bullets, winning an NBA Championship in 1978 and the NBA Executive of the Year Award in 1979 and 1982. He later had a brief stint on The NBA on NBC as an "Insider" alongside Peter Vescey in the early 1990s.Ferry's son Danny had a thirteen-year NBA playing career and later was general manager of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Atlanta Hawks.

Bucky Gunts

Brent "Bucky" Gunts is a multiple Emmy-winning sports television director currently serving as Head of Production for NBC Olympics.He is a director for NBC's Olympics coverage and has won four Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Directing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Special for NBC's coverage of the opening ceremony at various games, most recently for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. The 2010 award was presented at the televised ceremony by Ricky Gervais, who joked about the director's name.Gunts also directs NBC's primetime studio coverage throughout the Olympic Games, and has directed the Football Night in America studio show and NBC's golf coverage. He previously served as a director of the NBA on NBC, the network's baseball coverage, and The Today Show. According to NBC, he had won a total of twenty Emmy Awards as of February 2010.

Eddie Wohl

Eddie Wohl is a six-time Emmy Award winning songwriter, composer, music producer, and mixer, whose projects have sold over 6 million units combined. As an artist he was signed to Epic, Elektra, Mercury/Island and had a production deal with Roadrunner Records. Growing up on the East Coast, Wohl was in his first band at age 15 and signed his first record deal at the age of 25. Wohl’s major influences growing up included Black Sabbath, Stevie Wonder, Public Enemy and McCoy Tyner. Coming out of the New York City club/band scene, he has spent many years honing his craft as a world-class songwriter and producer. In 1999, Wohl, along with his partners, launched the iconic New York based Scrap 60 Productions, which was responsible for producing acts such as Anthrax, Ill Nino and H2O, amongst many other acts.

His producing credits include a variety of iconic acts, from metal greats Fuel, Anthrax, and Smile Empty Soul, to glam-punker Jesse Mallin and pop artist/American Idol judge Kara Dioguardi. He has produced records featuring performances by Bruce Springsteen, Robby Krieger, Roger Daltrey, Chino Moreno, Jakob Dylan, Josh Homme, Chris Shiflett, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Dimebag Darrell.

As a composer, Wohl has received six Emmy Awards for his work on the NBC San Diego, Washington DC Olympics, and news promos. Some other TV appearances of his music include Superbowl XLVII, The CBS Superbowl Pre-Game show, “CBS Super Bowl 50th Anniversary” spots the NFL on CBS, NBA on NBC, The Rio Olympics, The NHL, NCAA Basketball, PGA Golf on CBS, Young Sheldon, and The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.

George Vecsey

George Spencer Vecsey (born 1939) is an American non-fiction author and sports columnist for The New York Times. Vecsey is best known for his work in sports, but has co-written several autobiographies with non-sports figures. He is also the older brother of fellow sports journalist, columnist, and former NBATV and NBA on NBC color commentator Peter Vecsey.

John Tesh

John Frank Tesh (born July 9, 1952) is an American pianist and composer of pop music, as well as a radio host and television presenter. His Intelligence for Your Life radio show airs on nearly 300 stations, and is syndicated by Teshmedia in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. In addition, since 2014, he has hosted Intelligence for Your Life TV with his wife Connie Sellecca. The syndicated TV program airs on 174 stations that cover 93% of the potential U.S. television audience.Tesh has won six Emmys, has four gold albums, two Grammy nominations, and an Associated Press award for investigative journalism. Tesh has sold over eight million records. His live concerts have raised more than $20 million for PBS. He wrote the NBA on NBC basketball theme "Roundball Rock" regarded as one of the most memorable sports themes of all time. He is also known as the co-host of the television program Entertainment Tonight. He has previously worked as a sportscaster and host for the Olympic Games, Wimbledon, the US Open, the Tour De France, Ironman Triathlon, and as a news anchor and reporter. In 2018, Tesh was inducted into the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame.

Kerri Hoskins

Kerri Ann Hoskins Reavis (born February 20, 1970 in Cambridge, Minnesota) is a former glamour model and video game actress.

Matt Guokas Sr.

Matthew George Guokas Sr. (November 11, 1915 – December 9, 1993) was an American professional basketball player and broadcaster. He was the son of Lithuanian immigrants.A 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) forward from Saint Joseph's University, Guokas played one season of professional basketball with the Philadelphia Warriors of the BAA (a precursor to the NBA). He averaged 1.7 points during the Warriors' 1946–47 championship season. After losing his right leg in an automobile accident, Guokas turned to broadcasting, and he served as an announcer for the National Football League's Philadelphia Eagles from 1953 to 1985.

His son Matt Guokas Jr. played in the NBA from 1966 to 1976, and later coached the Philadelphia 76ers and Orlando Magic and worked as a broadcaster for the NBA on NBC and other sports networks.

Guokas and his son, Matt Jr., were the first father-son duo to both win NBA championships as players; this feat has since been repeated by the Barrys (Rick and Brent), the Waltons (Bill and Luke) and the Thompsons (Mychal and Klay).

Michele Tafoya

Michele Tafoya Vandersall (born December 17, 1964), known professionally as Michele Tafoya, is an American sportscaster. Since 2011, she has been a reporter for NBC Sports, featuring as the sideline reporter for NBC Sunday Night Football and the NBA on NBC.

NBA Hangtime

NBA Hangtime is a basketball video game developed and published by Midway and released in arcades in 1996. Home versions were released for the Nintendo 64, PlayStation, SNES, Sega Mega Drive/Genesis, and Microsoft Windows. A version for Game.com was cancelled.

Hangtime was the third basketball game by the original development team behind the NBA Jam series. The title was changed due to the NBA Jam name being acquired by Acclaim Entertainment, the publisher of the games for the home market. Acclaim's NBA Jam Extreme was released the same year as Hangtime. Features introduced in Hangtime included character creation, alley oops, and double dunks. A software update known as NBA Maximum Hangtime was released for the arcades later in the life cycle. A sequel, NBA Showtime: NBA on NBC, was released in 1999.

The theme song "Whatcha Gonna Do?" was produced by rapper M-Doc of Indasoul Entertainment.

NBA Hoopz

NBA Hoopz is a basketball video game by Midway. This game is the trilogy of NBA Hangtime and NBA Showtime: NBA on NBC. Hoopz was the only 3-on-3, arcade-style basketball video game available during the 2000–01 NBA season. This would be the final basketball video game released for the company as Midway put more focus on the Mortal Kombat series before getting acquisition under Warner Bros. Interactive in 2010.

NBA Showtime

NBA Showtime is the pregame show aired before each NBA on NBC telecast. The program, a half-hour in length, began during the 1990–91 NBA season, and was initially hosted by Bob Costas. Costas left in the mid-1990s, and became lead play-by-play voice of The NBA on NBC in 1997. Hannah Storm replaced Costas and hosted Showtime until Ahmad Rashād replaced her as host of the pregame show when Storm went on maternity leave in 2001. Storm returned in 2002 which meant that her and Rashad would alternate as hosts throughout the season. NBC kept the title of Showtime prior to the 2000–01 NBA season.

Showtime analysts included:

Quinn Buckner 1991–1993

P. J. Carlesimo 2000–2001

Pat Croce 2001–2002

Julius Erving 1993–1997

Mike Fratello 2001–2002

Kevin Johnson 2000–2001

Pat Riley 1990–1991

John Salley 1997–1998

Isiah Thomas 1998–2000

Tom Tolbert 2002

Peter Vecsey 1990–2001

Jayson Williams 2001–2002Midway Games created an NBA Showtime arcade game in 1999. The game was an update to the NBA Jam series, and used the same opening music and presentation style as the television show.

NBC Sports

NBC Sports is the programming division of the American broadcast network NBC, owned by the NBCUniversal Television Group division of NBCUniversal, that is responsible for sports broadcasts on the network, and its dedicated national sports cable channels. Formerly operating as "a service of NBC News", it broadcasts a diverse array of sports events, including the Olympic Games, the NFL, NASCAR, the NHL, Notre Dame football, the PGA Tour, the IndyCar Series, the French Open, the Premier League, and the Triple Crown, among others. Other programming from outside producers – such as coverage of the Ironman Triathlon – is also presented on the network through NBC Sports. With Comcast's acquisition of NBCUniversal, its own cable sports networks were aligned with NBC Sports into a part of the division known as the NBC Sports Group.

P. J. Carlesimo

Peter John Carlesimo (born May 30, 1949) is an American basketball coach, who coached in both the National Basketball Association (NBA) and college basketball for nearly 40 years. He is also a television broadcaster, having worked with ESPN, The NBA on TNT, Westwood One, Fox Sports Southwest, Pac-12 Network, The NBA on NBC and CSN New England.

Carlesimo served as head coach of four different NBA teams, and was named Seton Hall University's "Coach of the Century." He was an assistant coach for the United States men's Olympic basketball team ("The Dream Team") that won the gold medal at the 1992 Summer Olympics. He was also an assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs team that won three championships between 2003 and 2007.

PlayStation Multitap

The PlayStation Multitap is a peripheral for the PlayStation console. It is an adapter that can be used to plug in up to four controllers and memory cards at the same time in a single controller port. With a second multitap, up to eight controllers and memory cards can be plugged at once.

Roundball Rock

"Roundball Rock" is a theme song composed by John Tesh and used for The NBA on NBC from 1990 until 2002. NBC played the song 12,000 times during their run. Tesh came up with the melody while at a hotel and called his answering machine at home to sing a preliminary version of the melody so he would not forget it. A more rock-oriented variant was introduced in 1997 to coincide with the debut of the WNBA. That theme was also used until 2002, and on NBC's WNBA telecasts only.

When ABC took over broadcasting rights for the National Basketball Association (NBA) from NBC, Tesh offered them the rights to also use his song, but they declined and chose to compose their own theme music instead. The theme is still memorable nearly two decades later, especially because of its association with the NBA's ascendance in the 1990s.

The song was revived in three ways in 2008 and 2016, with NBC using the music for commercial bumpers and starting lineup announcements during their coverage of basketball at the 2008 Summer Olympics and 2016 Summer Olympics that featured NBA players and Tesh releasing a free MP3 version on his website to commemorate the 2008 NBA Finals. This song was sampled by Nelly for his song "Heart of a Champion" from his studio album, Sweat, and compilation album Sweatsuit. "Roundball Rock" was also used in The Boondocks episode "Ballin'".

On April 13, 2013, Saturday Night Live parodied John Tesh pitching the theme song to NBC Sports executives. In this sketch, the song featured comical lyrics sung by John's fictional brother Dave.

A re-recording of the tune is used by Tesh as theme music for his syndicated radio show, as well as for the television series Intelligence for Your Life that Tesh co-hosts with his wife Connie Sellecca.

On September 17, 2017, NBC briefly played the song heading into a commercial break during a Sunday Night Football game, over a replay of a jump shot-themed touchdown celebration by Atlanta Falcons players Devonta Freeman and Andy Levitre.Fox Sports announced in December 2018 that it had acquired the rights to "Roundball Rock", which it will play for select college basketball broadcasts.

Tom Hammond

Thomas Taylor Hammond (born May 10, 1944) is an American sportscaster for NBC Sports. For many years, Hammond was one of the network's staple on-air presenters, along with Bob Costas and Dan Hicks.

Hammond is best known for his coverage of Thoroughbred Racing on NBC, coverage of Notre Dame Football on NBC from 1992 until 2012 and his coverage of the NFL on NBC from 1985 until 2011.

Hammond also served as the play-by-play announcer for NBC's coverage of track and field at each Summer Olympics from 1992 to 2016. He also announced the speed skating events during the 2018 Winter Olympics.

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