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Marv Albert Reflects On Biggest Events, Games Of His Career

Just days before the final broadcast in a career spanning over a half-century, Marv Albert sat down with Shaun Powell.

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After almost 60 years of play-by-ball of mostly basketball, Marv Albert will be hanging it up this week after the conclusion of Game 2 of the Bucks-Hawks series. In an attempt to summarize some of the highlights of his enduring career, Albert sat down with Shaun Powell of NBA.com.

While Albert will be remembered by most for his calls of NBA games, he was asked many times to swim in other waters. He called Monday Night Football games, New York Rangers contests, MLB, boxing, horse racing, seemingly everything under the sun. When asked what was the most impactful event he covered, he claimed it was the 1992 Olympic basketball team.

“The greatest kick I got was doing the Dream Team, not for the games because they were all blowouts. But just to be around it. They were like the Beatles, had tight security, couldn’t really go anywhere. This is when basketball internationally had landed and started the whole movement. The first time they walked out on the floor I got the chills. Greatest group of athletes in a team sport that I’d ever seen.”

Marv Albert was on the call for various Super Bowls and NBA Finals, with his patented leathery voice accompanying the visual memories streaming in sports fans’ minds. Powell asked Albert what game stands out for him among the countless he has called.

“Probably the Jordan flu game. We knew Jordan was ill but the fans didn’t know, even when he was being carried back to the bench by his teammates every timeout. What he did was amazing, and the game was tight and he put up big numbers. He looked like he was going to double over. Because of what he did in that game, that was the most memorable.”

Nothing gets sports talk shows through the summer quite like discussions about legacies, Mount Rushmores, and of course, who is “the GOAT?” The latter often circles around Space Jam legend Michael Jordan and Space Jam 2 star Lebron James. So much so, that when the question is posed, it goes without saying who options A and B are, accompanied by an unspoken “you better not have an Option C.” Albert provided some context into the debate.

“That’s so hard but I go old school and give a slight edge to Jordan. When he first started as a rookie he was a bit skinny but I think if he played today he’d have LeBron’s body. He’d have the same motivation in terms of offseason training. There are guys in the 60s and 70s who would be able to play today, too. Bob Cousy would be a star because you see smaller guards now doing things that Cousy did then. His body would’ve changed. He’d still be 6-1 but he’d have a better shot, a jump shot instead of a push shot. Rick Barry would be sensational. If Michael played today he would be off the charts.”

Marv Albert’s final call will be Friday at 8:30 on TNT.

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XFL Signs Exclusive Deal With ESPN

“Games will return in 2023. The season opening slate will be played February 18.”

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All 43 games in the 2023 XFL season will air on Disney’s sports networks. The entire schedule will be seen on ABC, ESPN, and FX. Dwayne Johnson and Dani Garcia made the announcement at the 2022 Disney Upfront presentation.

This will be the third iteration of the XFL. The first attempt in 2001 ended after a single season. The 2020 revival was shut down due to Covid. Johnson and Garcia and their partners purchased the brand two years ago for $15 million.

“The XFL will tap into sports fans’ deep love of football by emphasizing competitive action while dedicating itself to innovation and entertainment,” Jimmy Pitaro, Chairman of ESPN and Sports Content said in a press release. “You can see a great path to success when you combine the reach and influence of ESPN and Disney with the collective vision of XFL leadership led by Dany, Dwayne and Gerry.”

Games will return in 2023. The season opening slate will be played February 18.

“The XFL is going to be a league of passion, a league of pride, and a league of culture,” Johnson said at the event, promising that those three principles will drive every decision for the league.

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NBA Playoff Ratings Hit 8-Year Highs

“At 3.71 million, the average audience for games this postseason is up 14% from last year. It is up 4% from 2019, the last time the playoffs started on time.”

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More people are watching the NBA Playoffs than have done so in a long time. Through the first two rounds in 2022, the league is enjoying its best postseason ratings in eight years.

The average audience across TNT, ESPN, ABC and NBA TV is 3.71 million people per game. If you take the less widely available NBA TV out of the mix, the NBA is averaging 4.08 million viewers per game.

At 3.71 million, the average audience for games this postseason is up 14% from last year. It is up 4% from 2019, the last time the playoffs started on time.

The Boston Celtics have been one of the most reliable performers this postseason. They have been involved in two of the three most-watched games. Sunday’s Game 7 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks is one of two games this postseason that now rank as the most-watched early round games in a decade. The other was Game 1 between the Golden State Warriors and the Memphis Grizzlies.

Golden State has also been a hot draw. The Warriors have been involved in four of the seven most-watched playoff games.

With both teams still alive and plenty of star power left in the playoffs, the NBA is poised to deliver one of its most-watched postseasons in years.

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Domonique Foxworth: Tom Brady Contract Is About Impressing NFL

“I think that’s why the booths look the way they look. It’s because the league wants their games to feel big, and it’s worth it to them.”

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The shake-up of NFL TV broadcast booths has been one of the top storylines in the league this offseason.

Part of the reasoning is because of the massive sums of money involved. Whether it’s Joe Buck and Troy Aikman or Tom Brady, NFL broadcasters have been getting paid. And it doesn’t seem like the spending is going to slow down anytime soon.

Speaking to Bomani Jones on The Right Time, Domonique Foxworth said the NFL just wants to continue to get bigger and bigger even with its broadcast crews.

“These TV partners want to be in good with the league. And I think that’s what this Tom Brady contract comes down to,” Foxworth said. “I think that’s why the booths look the way they look. It’s because the league wants their games to feel big, and it’s worth it to them.”

Even with some feeling like Brady is uninteresting and likely won’t move the needle as an analyst, it’s the name recognition factor that will set the table for Brady in the booth.

“I do believe that if you turn on an NFL game, and Tom Brady’s talking about it, it feels bigger no matter what he’s saying,” Foxworth said.

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