NBA Title

NBA championship Series begins Thursday night in Denver; Pundits are calling it either team’s title

It starts tomorrow night. Anything can happen

Game 1: Heat at Nuggets Thursday, June 1 (8:30 p.m. ET, ABC)

Game 2: Heat at NuggetsSunday, June 4 (8 p.m. ET, ABC)

Game 3: Nuggets at HeatWednesday, June 7 (8:30 p.m. ET, ABC)

Game 4: Nuggets at Heat Friday, June 9 (8:30 p.m. ET, ABC)

Game 5: Heat at NuggetsMonday, June 12 (8:30 p.m. ET, ABC)*

Game 6: Nuggets at Heat Thursday, June 15 (8:30 p.m. ET, ABC)*

Game 7: Heat at Nuggets Sunday, June 18 (8 p.m. ET, ABC)*

Play-by-play and talent commentators: 

Mike Breen will call his 18th NBA Finals, the most for a play-by-play commentator

Jeff Van Gundy will call his 17th as an analyst, the most for an analyst

Mark Jackson will call his 15th as an analyst, the most for a Black game analyst

On ESPN Radio, commentators:

  • On ESPN Radio: Marc Kestecher is on play-by-play. Improving Doris Burke will split the analysis with P.J. Carlesimo. Rosalyn Gold-Onwude will report from the sideline and away from the ball. P.J., a heck of a personality but he steps all over Marc. No excuses, P. J. This is radio. A play-by-player’s medium. Time of game and score are everything. Lisa Salters, a familiar name to most in the NFL and NBA, is back for yet another one beginning this Thursday in Denver.
  • I was actually flying from New York to Fort Lauderdale on Monday night. I strutted the length of the center aisle of the plane, from last row to first. Most of Delta’s TV sets were turned to the game. As far as my eye can see and in my estimation, two-thirds of the flight were tuned into Game #7, that is in the first half. Viewership started dwindling in the second when Boston was being out-chased and outpaced by Miami. Don’t take my assessment for accuracy. But I saw an unquestionably big drop-off in audience in the second half.
  • ESPN is toting something new this title series New this season, ABC and NBA weeknight NBA Finals, game broadcasts will begin at 8:30 p.m. ET, while the Sunday game is scheduled to start at 8 p.m. NBA Countdown, ESPN and ABC’s NBA pregame show, will precede each game on ABC with a 30-minute pregame show, starting at 8 p.m. on weeknights and 7:30 p.m. on Sundays.
  • Had an opportunity to talk with Al Albert. For 21 seasons beginning in the mid to late 1970s, Al called Nets and Islanders games on WHN Radio in New York. He then moved to Denver where he did just about everything for the Nuggets, radio and TV and for the club overall. Albert is the middle brother of older Marv and and younger Steve. He’s an uncle of Kenny Albert. Al dropped me a note, “I’m thrilled that the Nuggets franchise, the Mile High City and the faithful Denver fans are experiencing the joy of this incredible Nuggets team heading to the Finals.”
  • Jason Kosmickhas been the voice of the Denver Nuggets for the last 14 years. It’s his 29th season with Kroenke Sports Enterprises he’s had different roles including being the team’s radio engineer. He has a nice voice. The little I’ve listened to him, he seems to sound quite pleasant. “Koz,” as he’s called within the organization, moved back to the U.S. at age 11 after spending seven years in Germany. His bio says that he relearned the English language and eventually attended the University of Nebraska at Kearney.
  • I feel a bit for Mike Ingles, the longtime Heat radio play-by-player, who started in 1998, amid a player work stoppage and retired into the treacherous Covid days. Jason Jackson, the pre and post man on TV, took over. He’s a bit inexperienced for traditional NBA radio.

*if necessary

David J. Halberstam

David is a 40-year + industry veteran who served as play-by-play announcer for St. John's University basketball in New York and as radio play-by-play voice of the Miami Heat in South Florida. He is the author of Sports on New York Radio: A Play-by-Play History and The Fundamentals of Sports Media and Sponsorship Sales: Developing New Accounts.

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