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Monday, June 18, 2007

The TV Ratings Weren't the Cavs' Fault. They Were the NBA's.

Posted By on Mon, Jun 18, 2007 at 5:57 PM

With the NBA finals wrapped up, most of Cleveland is moving on to the Tribe. Not so with some sports writers. They’re left to analyze the series and the state of the NBA in general. If you hadn’t heard, the series between the Spurs and Cavs had the worst television ratings in decades. Despite the enormous hype swirling around LeBron, he wasn’t enough to draw a bigger audience than the series finale of the Sopranos. Most analysts blame the relatively small market sizes of San Antonio and Cleveland for turning off viewers. Some blame it on San Antonio’s plodding style of play. But you can count on Jason Whitlock to think beyond the obvious. He’s a Kansas City Star sports columnist who used to work for ESPN until he got booted for bashing former colleagues. He once said this of ESPN writer Scoop Jackson: “I hate to go all Lloyd Bentsen, but Scoop Jackson is no Ralph Wiley. Ralph was a grown-ass man who didn’t bojangle for anybody. Scoop is a clown.” According to Whitlock, the NBA’s problems go way beyond Cleveland and San Antonio. The problem is the product. There are too many selfish players who people don’t really like, Whitlock asserts. And they’ve never matured from the AAU basketball they played in high school. He cites LeBron: “I hate to keep using LeBron James as the example because I absolutely love his mental maturity and willingness to be coached, but he is an AAU player. AAU is the reason he doesn't have a jump shot. AAU is the reason he's so unskilled in the low post.” Love Whitlock or hate him, it’s nice to read an out-of-town columnist write an entire piece without referring to the “Mistake by the Lake.” And compared to the near-homoerotic gushing columnists in The PD, it’s nice to read someone who understands that LeBron has yet to be canonized. – T.K. Kim

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