NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 05: Charlotte Bobcats owner Michael Jordan arrives for NBA labor negotiations at Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers on November 5, 2011 in New York City. Players have been seeking 52.5 percent of revenues in their favor but owners want a deal at 53-47 along with a hard sallary cap. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
It feels like the early 90's. NBA ratings are up (despite the lockout) and Phil Jackson and Michael Jordan are in the news.
The latest evidence that fans are not turned off when there's a work stoppage in pro sports: The NBA is finishing its lockout-shortened season with banner TV ratings. ABC's games are averaging 3.3% of U.S. TV households, up 10% from last year. ESPN, despite a scrambled schedule that put NBA games in time slots where they hadn't previously aired, is averaging 1.3%. That's even with last year, when ESPN's NBA games got their best ratings since the network got NBA rights in 2002.
If the New York Knicks don't advance beyond the first round of the playoffs, I'm hearing they'll make a major — repeat, major — push to lure legendary coach Phil Jackson out of retirement. With money being no object, the scuttlebutt is the Knicks brass may offer the "Zen Master" a four-year, $50 million deal.
Jordan, in an exclusive interview with The Charlotte Observer, responded to criticism from former Bobcats coach Larry Brown, who said Wednesday on Dan Patrick’s nationally syndicated radio show that Jordan’s top advisors "don’t have a clue’’ and made Brown "sick.’’
The Bobcats make most people that watch them sick, but the same could be said for most rebuilding/tanking teams. We'll see how they do with their draft picks and cap space.