ABC & ESPN 2014-15 NBA Schedule

NBA-on-ESPN-logoNBA_on_ABCLeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Derrick Rose, Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony in Action during Star-studded NBAOpening Week on ESPN

LeBron James Returns to Miami for Cleveland Cavaliers-Miami Heat Christmas Day Showdown

Oklahoma City Thunder and reigning NBA MVP Kevin Durant Lead the Way with 16 Total Appearances

ABC & ESPN Combine for 90 National Regular-season NBA Telecasts

Star-studded NBA Opening WeekonESPN

The NBA returns to ESPN on Wednesday, October 29, for a doubleheader during NBA opening week. At 8 p.m. ET, the Chicago Bulls welcome Derrick Rose back to action as they visit the New York Knicks and Carmelo Anthony. At 10:30 p.m., the Oklahoma City Thunder and reigning NBA MVP Kevin Durant will visit the Portland Trail Blazers and Damian Lillard. The NBA’s opening week continues on Halloween – Friday, October 31 – as the Cleveland Cavaliers and LeBron James visit the Chicago Bulls and Derrick Rose at 8 p.m. In the nightcap, the Los Angeles Lakers and the returning Kobe Bryant host the Los Angeles Clippers and Chris Paul at 10:30 p.m.  NBA Countdown will precede both games with special one-hour pre-game shows at 7 p.m.

All ESPN games will be available on computers, smartphones, tablets, Xbox, Fire TV and Apple TV via WatchESPN. ESPN Radio and ESPN Deportes will also have coverage throughout the season. In addition, the NBA Countdown pre-game show will generally preview ABC and ESPN games or doubleheaders 30 minutes prior to game time.

NBA Christmas Day Highlighted by LeBron James’ Return to Miami

ABC and ESPN will combine to televise three games on Christmas Day, Thursday, December 25, beginning at 12 p.m. ET on ESPN when the New York Knicks and Carmelo Anthony host the Washington Wizards and John Wall. ABC will then broadcast an NBA doubleheader: the defending NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs and Tony Parker host the Oklahoma City Thunder and Kevin Durant in a rematch of the 2014 Western Conference Finals at 2:30 p.m., followed by the Miami return of LeBron James as the Cleveland Cavaliers visit the Miami Heat and Dwyane Wade at 5 p.m.

Christmas Day schedule

Time (ET) Telecast Network(s)
12 p.m. Washington Wizards at New York Knicks ESPN, WatchESPN
2 p.m. NBA Countdown ABC, WatchABC
2:30 p.m. Oklahoma City Thunder at San Antonio Spurs ABC, WatchABC
5 p.m. Cleveland Cavaliers at Miami Heat ABC, WatchABC

ABC schedule highlights

v  15 exclusive, national broadcasts and seven doubleheaders, including Christmas Day – Dec. 25, Jan. 25, Feb. 8, Mar. 1, Mar. 8, Mar. 15, Apr. 5;

v  Christmas Day blockbuster doubleheader: Oklahoma City Thunder at defending NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs at 2:30 p.m.; LeBron James returns to Miami for Cleveland Cavaliers at Miami Heat at 5 p.m.;

v  Multiple appearances by top NBA superstars LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Derrick Rose, Chris Paul, Dwight Howard, and more;

v  Six appearances by the Oklahoma City Thunder and Kevin Durant, plus five appearances each by the Cleveland Cavaliers – led by LeBron James – and the Chicago Bulls and Derrick Rose;

v  Four appearances by the Los Angeles Clippers, featuring the “Lob City” tandem of Chris Paul and Blake Griffin;

v  Oklahoma City Thunder at Cleveland Cavaliers – Kevin Durant vs. LeBron James in matchup of last two MVPs – Jan. 25;

v  Los Angeles Lakers at Cleveland Cavaliers – Kobe Bryant vs. LeBron James – on Feb. 8;

v  First-ever Golden State Warriors appearance on Mar. 8;

NBA Countdown pre-game show generally 30 minutes prior to every ABC game or doubleheader.

ESPN schedule highlights

v  75 national telecasts and 34 doubleheaders;

v  LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Derrick Rose, Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony in action during star-studded NBA opening week on ESPN;

v  Los Angeles Lakers to visit New York Knicks on Super Bowl Sunday Feb. 1; Phoenix Suns to host Chicago Bulls Super Bowl Weekend on Jan. 30;

v  10 appearances each by the Cleveland Cavaliers and LeBron James, the Oklahoma City Thunder and Kevin Durant, the defending NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs and Tim Duncan, the Chicago Bulls and Derrick Rose, the Los Angeles Clippers and Chris Paul and the Portland Trail Blazers and Damian Lillard;

v  Nine appearances each by the Golden State Warriors and Stephen Curry, the Houston Rockets and Dwight Howard, the Los Angeles Lakers and Kobe Bryant, the Miami Heat and Dwyane Wade, the New York Knicks and Carmelo Anthony and the Washington Wizards and John Wall;

v  Derrick Rose’s return to the Chicago Bulls to air on ESPN’s opening night of NBA coverage, Oct. 29;

v  First Christmas Day appearance by the Washington Wizards;

v  Special Martin Luther King, Jr. Day matchup between the Atlanta Hawks and the Detroit Pistons on Jan. 19;

v  The Houston Rockets will face the Minnesota Timberwolves in a matchup emanating from Mexico City on Nov. 12;

Kia NBA Countdown pre-game show generally 30 minutes prior to ESPN games or doubleheaders.

ABC Schedule

Date Time (ET) Game
Thu, Dec. 25 2:30 p.m. Oklahoma City Thunder at San Antonio Spurs
5 p.m. Cleveland Cavaliers at Miami Heat
Sun, Jan. 25 1 p.m. Miami Heat at Chicago Bulls
3:30 p.m. Oklahoma City Thunder at Cleveland Cavaliers
Sun, Feb. 8 1 p.m. Los Angeles Clippers at Oklahoma City Thunder
3:30 p.m. Los Angeles Lakers at Cleveland Cavaliers
Sun, Feb. 22 1 p.m. Cleveland Cavaliers at New York Knicks
Sun, Mar. 1 1 p.m. Los Angeles Clippers at Chicago Bulls
3:30 p.m. Oklahoma City Thunder at Los Angeles Lakers
Sun, Mar. 8 1 p.m. Chicago Bulls at San Antonio Spurs
3:30 p.m. Los Angeles Clippers at Golden State Warriors
Sun, Mar. 15 1 p.m. Chicago Bulls at Oklahoma City Thunder
3:30 p.m. Houston Rockets at Los Angeles Clippers
Sun, Apr. 5 1 p.m. Houston Rockets at Oklahoma City Thunder
3:30 p.m. Chicago Bulls at Cleveland Cavaliers

ESPN Schedule

Date Time (ET) Game
Wed, Oct. 29 8 p.m. Chicago Bulls at New York Knicks
10:30 p.m. Oklahoma City Thunder at Portland Trail Blazers
Fri, Oct. 31 8 p.m. Cleveland Cavaliers at Chicago Bulls
10:30 p.m. Los Angeles Clippers at Los Angeles Lakers
Wed, Nov. 5 8 p.m. Indiana Pacers at Washington Wizards
10:30 p.m. Los Angeles Clippers at Golden State Warriors
Fri, Nov. 7 8 p.m. Memphis Grizzlies at Oklahoma City Thunder
10:30 p.m. Cleveland Cavaliers at Denver Nuggets
Wed, Nov. 12 7:30 p.m. Indiana Pacers at Miami Heat
10 p.m. Houston Rockets at Minnesota Timberwolves

(From Mexico City)

Fri, Nov. 14 10 p.m. San Antonio Spurs at Los Angeles Lakers
Wed, Nov. 19 7 p.m. San Antonio Spurs at Cleveland Cavaliers
9:30 p.m. Los Angeles Lakers at Houston Rockets
Fri, Nov. 21 8 p.m. Cleveland Cavaliers at Washington Wizards
10:30 p.m. Chicago Bulls at Portland Trail Blazers
Wed, Nov. 26 7:30 p.m. New York Knicks at Dallas Mavericks
Wed, Dec. 10 8 p.m. New York Knicks at San Antonio Spurs
10:30 p.m. Miami Heat at Denver Nuggets
Fri, Dec. 12 7 p.m. Portland Trail Blazers at Chicago Bulls
9:30 p.m. Los Angeles Lakers at San Antonio Spurs
Tue, Dec. 16 8 p.m. Dallas Mavericks at New York Knicks
10:30 p.m. Oklahoma City Thunder at Sacramento Kings
Wed, Dec. 17 8 p.m. Brooklyn Nets at Toronto Raptors
10:30 p.m. Houston Rockets at Denver Nuggets
Fri, Dec. 19 8 p.m. Portland Trail Blazers at San Antonio Spurs
10:30 p.m. Oklahoma City Thunder at Los Angeles Lakers
Thu, Dec. 25 12 p.m. Washington Wizards at New York Knicks
Wed, Jan. 7 7 p.m. Houston Rockets at Cleveland Cavaliers
9:30 p.m. Phoenix Suns at Minnesota Timberwolves
Fri, Jan. 9 8 p.m. Chicago Bulls at Washington Wizards
10:30 p.m. Cleveland Cavaliers at Golden State Warriors
Wed, Jan. 14 8 p.m. Atlanta Hawks at Boston Celtics
10:30 p.m. Los Angeles Clippers at Portland Trail Blazers
Fri, Jan. 16 8 p.m. Golden State Warriors at Oklahoma City Thunder
10:30 p.m. Cleveland Cavaliers at Los Angeles Clippers
Mon, Jan. 19 2:30 p.m. Detroit Pistons at Atlanta Hawks
Wed, Jan. 21 8 p.m. Oklahoma City Thunder at Washington Wizards
10:30 p.m. Houston Rockets at Golden State Warriors
Fri, Jan. 23 8 p.m. Chicago Bulls at Dallas Mavericks
Wed, Jan. 28 8 p.m. Oklahoma City Thunder at New York Knicks
10:30 p.m. Washington Wizards at Phoenix Suns
Fri, Jan. 30 8 p.m. Dallas Mavericks at Miami Heat
10:30 p.m. Chicago Bulls at Phoenix Suns
Sat, Jan. 31 9 p.m. Los Angeles Clippers at San Antonio Spurs
Sun, Feb. 1 2 p.m. Los Angeles Lakers at New York Knicks
Wed, Feb. 4 8 p.m. Chicago Bulls at Houston Rockets
10:30 p.m. Dallas Mavericks at Golden State Warriors
Fri, Feb. 6 7 p.m. New York Knicks at Brooklyn Nets
9:30 p.m. Miami Heat at San Antonio Spurs
Wed, Feb. 11 8 p.m. Miami Heat at Cleveland Cavaliers
10:30 p.m. Houston Rockets at Los Angeles Clippers
Fri, Feb. 20 8 p.m. Cleveland Cavaliers at Washington Wizards
10:30 p.m. San Antonio Spurs at Golden State Warriors
Wed, Feb. 25 8 p.m. Los Angeles Clippers at Houston Rockets
10:30 p.m. San Antonio Spurs at Portland Trail Blazers
Fri, Feb. 27 8 p.m. Miami Heat at New Orleans Pelicans
10:30 p.m. Oklahoma City Thunder at Portland Trail Blazers
Wed, Mar. 4 8 p.m. Los Angeles Lakers at Miami Heat
10:30 p.m. Portland Trail Blazers at Los Angeles Clippers
Fri, Mar. 6 8 p.m. Miami Heat at Washington Wizards
10:30 p.m. Dallas Mavericks at Golden State Warriors
Wed, Mar. 11 8 p.m. Los Angeles Clippers at Oklahoma City Thunder
10:30 p.m. Houston Rockets at Portland Trail Blazers
Mon, Mar. 16 8 p.m. Cleveland Cavaliers at Miami Heat
10:30 p.m. Los Angeles Lakers at Golden State Warriors
Wed, Mar. 18 8 p.m. Indiana Pacers at Chicago Bulls
10:30 p.m. Washington Wizards at Utah Jaz
Wed, Mar. 25 7 p.m. Los Angeles Clippers at New York Knicks
9:30 p.m. Oklahoma City Thunder at San Antonio Spurs
Fri, Apr. 3 8 p.m. Detroit Pistons at Chicago Bulls
10:30 p.m. Portland Trail Blazers at Los Angeles Lakers
Wed, Apr. 8 7 p.m. Toronto Raptors at Charlotte Hornets
9:30 p.m. Phoenix Suns at Dallas Mavericks
Wed, Apr. 15 8 p.m. Charlotte Hornets at Toronto Raptors
10:30 p.m. Denver Nuggets at Golden State Warriors

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Transcript: NBA Finals on ABC Media Conference Call with Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson

NBA_on_ABCTranscript: NBA Finals on ABC Media Conference Call with Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson
Earlier today, ABC and ESPN NBA analysts Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson discussed the start of the 2014 NBA Finals on a media conference call. ABC’s exclusive coverage of The Finals tips with Game One on Thursday, June 5, when the defending NBA Champion Miami Heat visit the San Antonio Spurs in a rematch of the 2013 Finals at 9 p.m. ET. Van Gundy and Jackson will join Mike Breen – the voice of The Finals – reporter Doris Burke and officiating expert Steve Javie for commentary. NBA Countdown previews the game at 8:30 p.m. on ABC. The Finals are also available on ESPN Radio, ESPN Deportes, ESPN3 and WatchABC. Additional details are available on ESPN MediaZone.
 
Q. Could you have thought that the Heat could have gotten back here without contributions from their two new guys Michael Beasley and Greg Oden? As you know they’ve gotten very little from either during this run. 
 
JACKSON:  I would say to that answer, yes, they certainly anticipated both of those guys playing some sort of role.  But at the end of the day, they brought back the nucleus, and when you bring back the big three in James and Wade and Bosh, and you bring back the same mentality, and obviously some of the guys off the bench that have proven, that are champions.  Erik Spoelstra has done an outstanding job.  I would say, yes, because at the end of the day they’re built defensively, and they’re built with some special talent that puts them in position to, in spite of who they rotate as far as role players, be in the mix year in and year out.
VAN GUNDY:  I concur with Mark.  I think there are a couple factors.  I think we have to change the big three moniker to the big four because I think Spoelstra definitely belongs in there.  They have four guys who could be going to the Hall of Fame as players, Ray Allen and Bosh and Wade and James.  But Spoelstra is absolutely vital and instrumental to their success and he’s going to be there as well.  You add to that the weakened state of the Eastern Conference. They really weren’t tested.  Throw out the playoffs and so they’re here once again.
You know, Beasley in particular I thought might find his way onto the court, but Rashard Lewis has given good minutes.  At times Battier has given them good minutes, but he hasn’t been able to find his way consistently on the floor.
Q. I was wondering if either of you have any interest in the Lakers head coaching position, and if they’ve reached out to you about it? 
 
VAN GUNDY:  I found that it’s in everybody’s best interest never to comment on jobs.  I don’t think it does the team any good or the individual coach.  If teams ever want to state what their plans are before they’ve named a coach, that’s up to them, but I think it’s best that I don’t get involved with that.
JACKSON:  I totally agree.  Obviously, it’s an incredible job, and I’m sure they’ll pick an outstanding coach to lead them forward.
Q. Could you look into your crystal balls and speculate on what might happen if the Spurs either win or don’t win this or the same question with the Heat.  How does the outcome impact how these things might be made up next year? 
 
JACKSON:  I’m tired of looking in the crystal ball when it comes to the Spurs.  Not just me, but we’ve all been wrong for quite a while now.  We had them dead a couple years ago.  We had them dead after The Finals last year.  Truth be told, they’re going to be relevant and be around for the foreseeable future because they’re playing the right way, led by an incredible coach, an all-time great coach – not just in basketball but in sports in general – a bunch of Hall of Famers, and they just find ways to win ballgames.  So they’ll be around.
I think when you talk about the Heat, I think it depends on those guys and the decision they’re going to make after the season.  When you talk about Pat Riley and that organization, when you talk about Erik Spoelstra, I’m sure they’re going to, whatever the decisions are by the players, find a way to regroup, come back, and be just as strong, if not stronger.
VAN GUNDY:  Yeah, I can’t envision going to four straight Finals and any of the better three players deciding that they’re better served someplace else.  The Eastern Conference is definitely the place to be right now if you’re a great player because the road is just a lot easier to navigate.  So I can’t see them willingly changing their path.  And San Antonio, I think the Kawhi Leonard-George Hill trade got them back to where they are now.  They’re a little small at that position.  Now not only did they have the courage to make that trade, then they picked the right guy, and he has performed fantastically over his short career, and along with the depth they’ve added, and the great, great coaching, they’ve been able to surround their three best players with terrific players, and it’s going to be fun to watch.
Q. I know the word legacy gets thrown around a lot.  But how do you view a third championship for LeBron James on an historical plane if the Heat end up winning the series?
 
VAN GUNDY:  I think it would be a terrific accomplishment.  Winning a championship is hard, being in The Finals is hard, but a lot about how much you win is who you play with and who you play against at any particular time in your career.  So I don’t look at his career in Miami as being any more successful than his time in Cleveland.  He’s just surrounded with better players, weaker conference.  I think this guy is an all-time great.  I think one of his greatest accomplishments is taking a very average to below-average Cleveland Cavaliers team to The Finals, I think, it was in 2007.  I think he won 66 games with a starting lineup in Cleveland that I’m not sure would have won 36 games without him.
So to me, both places have been ultra-successful. I don’t think a guy’s greatness is directly tied to his number of championships won because a lot of it comes down to circumstance.
JACKSON:  I totally agree.  I look at LeBron James, and he’s an all-time great basketball player.  I said it, and it’s documented that my opinion is he’s one of the best forwards that ever played the game.  I really am not a guy to look and see championships to find your greatness.  Because I, like Jeff, agree the fact is who you play with and who you play against. At the end of the day, the guy has played at an incredible level for a long time, and it does not seem the end is near anytime soon.
Q. Mark, can you comprehend what Jason Kidd and maybe Derek Fisher is pondering going straight from a playing career to a coach?  Would you have been able to do that a few years ago after you retired?  And are you sure – are you convinced you want to coach again, or are you good where you’re at?  What is your state right now, now that you’ve signed with ESPN? 
 
JACKSON:  Well, I do look forward to coaching one day if it presents itself again.  Right now I’m having a blast being back with my crew.  I’m fortunate and thrilled to death to be back.  If the opportunity presents itself, I look forward to coaching again.  If I end my career the way it ended and I continue to call games, I’m fine with that, just to clear that up also.  I’m having the time of my life calling these games and being back with this incredible group.
To answer the first part of the question, I believe I would have been able to do it. Unfortunately, I did not have an opportunity.  But as far as players today, obviously Jason Kidd had success and continued to get better.  I think his future is extremely bright.  So I believe that the point is picking the right person. So I believe you can do it and you can be successful.  It’s important to make sure that you pick the right person.  I don’t think just anybody can do it, but the right person can be successful.
Q. Jeff, you’ve alluded to the weakened state of the Eastern Conference a couple times now.  I’m curious if either of you think that might affect the Heat’s standing when you look at that team and what they’ve accomplished among some of the all-time greats?  You know the Bulls dynasty very well.  Where does the Heat as a team and what they’ve accomplished kind of rank with some of the all-time great teams? 
VAN GUNDY:  I hate to compare because ultimately people will read into it that you’re diminishing one at the expense of the other.  I would just say the Bulls teams back in their heyday had to go through some monster teams to win it all, some really incredible teams.  I think it’s hard to compare teams from different eras.  But to me, Jordan’s Bulls could compete against any of the great teams that were ever put up.  I think they were that good, and they had to go through some great other teams to win those championships.
JACKSON:  For me watching Jordan’s Bulls, and obviously the Celtics with Bird and McHale and Parish, and those guys, D.J., watching Ainge and the great Showtime Lakers, those were incredible teams.  I look at this Heat team, and I, like Jeff, don’t diminish what they’ve been able to do.  Obviously, the competition is not the same as far as the teams that they’ve faced but you go through who you have to go through.  They’ve done it; they’ve done it with class, and at an incredible level, so I don’t think it diminishes their accomplishments at all.
Q. I saw a story on the website that refers to the 1994 NBA Finals 20 years ago as being sort of a forgotten Finals.  I presume part of that is because of the O.J. Chase, and part of it may be because of other factors.  Do you agree with that thinking that the Rockets Knicks series has been lost to history for circumstances that have nothing to do with basketball? 
 
VAN GUNDY:  Well, for me, it’s not lost on me.  I think about that, maybe not every day, but most days.  I’ve talked about this to Mark a lot because, to me, you’ll never convince me that those Knicks teams from when Pat Riley came to when he left to go to Miami – even though they didn’t accomplish winning a championship – that the players there weren’t champions, because they gave championship energy and effort and enthusiasm every day.  Unfortunately, they came up a few plays short.
But when you’re talking about Olajuwon in his prime, he’s as great to me as anybody that’s ever played.  Ewing didn’t match up a lot with Olajuwon in that series because we played him single coverage, and they doubled Ewing on every catch.  But it was still having two great, great competitors, players, humble people going at each other in that series.
I don’t remember anybody talking about O.J. in our locker room and those circumstances.  I think the nation was captivated by that.  I think the teams were locked in very much to that series.  It was hard fought.  Houston got home court.  They beat us both times in the regular season, and that gave them the advantage to have home court, and they made a couple more plays than we did, and I’m not bitter.
Q. Do you have any regrets about your stint with the Warriors?  Jeff, how does it feel having Mark back in the booth with you guys?  Obviously, it cuts into your time.
JACKSON:  Well, listen, there are no regrets.  I think about the three years there.  I think about the opportunity that was presented to me by the ownership, by management.  I think about the relationship with incredible players and what they were able to accomplish in three years and where that organization was and where it is today – you got a lot to be proud of.  Ownership, management, players, fans – it’s in a great place.  There are absolutely no regrets.
VAN GUNDY:  Before I get to what you were asking me, I would say the unfortunate thing when change comes about whether it’s players or coaches in the NBA, is more focus is given to how things ended than what was accomplished during their time together.  I think it speaks volumes that everybody wants to talk about how it ended between Mark and Golden State instead of taking a look at and examining Mark’s impact there in that he came into a team that, minus minor blips of success had been historically bad for two decades.  And he came in there and remade them.  Who would have thought Golden State would become an elite defensive team?
Defense in this league is about coaching and the ability to protect the basket, and I was utterly amazed how quickly Mark transformed them from a porous defense into an elite defense, and taking them to 47, 51 wins.  They hadn’t won 45-plus games in back-to-back years in forever.
So my focus when I look at that is what was accomplished versus how it ended.  Now, to get to your question about less air time, basketball fans in America are applauding the three-man booth so they don’t have to listen to my inane rants.  And believe me, no one is upset, myself included, that I do less talking.
Q. I know both of you have said that you don’t want to discuss any team’s interest in you or your interest in any job openings, and I definitely respect that.  But I did want to ask you, there’s been a groundswell from a vocal segment of Knicks fans that Phil Jackson reach out to you guys for the Knicks coaching vacancy, I just wanted to know if you had gotten wind of that at all, and how you react to that?
VAN GUNDY:  When you spend 13 years with an organization like I did, which gave you your first chance of being in the NBA, your first chance of being with a championship-caliber team, and your first chance to be a head coach, you’ll always be a Knick.
So there are a few box scores I check every morning right when I get up.  It’s obviously wherever my brother is coaching, Chicago, Charlotte, Golden State, the Rockets and the Knicks.  Those are my guys and those are my teams.  I’m always going to have great, great feelings for the Knicks, hoping that they have great success and really appreciate whenever I am back in New York, how positive the fans were to me when I was just getting started.  So I’ll always be so appreciative of how they treated me.
JACKSON:  Obviously, you hear the talk, even if it’s the New York Post reporting my inner circle made a statement, and I have no clue because my wife and kids have not spoken to the Post, so just to counter that.  It’s an incredible job.  It’s an incredible opportunity.  And I’m sure that Phil Jackson will do an outstanding job of finding the right coach to get that organization and that team headed back in the right situation.
Q. You guys mentioned some of those old Bulls teams.  It’s been 30 years since that ’84 draft that Michael Jordan came in.  Just wanted your thoughts and memories on facing him, and particularly at this time of year how good he could be.
JACKSON:  He’s the best I’ve ever faced, and he’s the best I’ve ever seen.  Flat out, there were times when Jeff can recall he single handedly beat us with the Knicks when other guys were not ready at that particular time.  He propelled them to be great and propelled them to championship level.  Absolutely incredible, fierce competitor.  Invited a winning spirit, and did everything on the floor to attempt to tear the heart out and put daggers into his opposition, and you can see the impact that he’s had not just in that time, but even in watching players after him, how they attempted to duplicate or put some of the things in their game that he had mastered.  But those were great Bulls teams.  Like I said, there are times when he single handedly put them in position to win it all.
VAN GUNDY:  Yeah, we used to kiddingly refer to as the triangle with the 23 in the triangle because that’s what made it run.  I just went back and looked at his numbers.  I think sometimes with great players you forget the longer they’re out how great they were.  I mean, this guy played huge minutes with the Washington Wizards when he was 39, and averaged over 20 points a game.  Played all 82 games, I think, when he was 38, averaged 22.6.  Then the run he had with the Bulls, I mean, this is legendary stuff.
But if you don’t take a peak back every once in a while, you can start to forget just how great he was.  To me, his post-up game and the triangle, how he got into the post, out of the triangle, to me was the hardest part to guard.  We didn’t have big two guards at that time in New York, but we did have big point guards.  We had Mark, we had Doc Rivers, and we had Derek Harper.  Starts with a great competitor, add the two, but we had no answer for him in the post.  Defensively it wasn’t an every play mentality, but he had the ability, along with Pippen and Grant and Rodman to turn it up such that it was    they could make it very difficult for you to find good shots.
So Jordan to me, it’s like Mark said, I don’t like to compare eras because I didn’t see some of the guys play live.  But with my own two eyes I loved going into Chicago Stadium, the old Chicago Stadium, because you came out of that tunnel three and a half or whatever it was, and you knew it was on.  In a great atmosphere against the greatest to ever play during my time in the NBA.  You know, it was an honor to be on the same floor.
Q. It’s been mentioned the East is much weaker than the West this year.  Do you think either team has an advantage?  The Heat have had a fairly easy pass through the playoffs so far versus the Spurs who have been much more tested in the regular season and the playoffs.  Do you think it gives either team an advantage?
 
JACKSON:  I think that’s a great question.  I think the Spurs being battle tested this year certainly puts them in position.  But I don’t look at it as just this year.  I think both teams are prepared for this moment because of their history, not just the history of 82 games and a playoff round, but the history – playoffs, battle-tested, championship.  So I don’t think it plays a role in who gets the advantage.  Both teams are prepared, both teams are ready, both teams are extremely well coached, and I think it sets up for an outstanding NBA Finals.
VAN GUNDY:  I would agree.  I think so much of it depends on Parker’s health.  If he’s healthy, obviously, the Spurs have a great opportunity.  If he’s hobbled, I think Miami has a better opportunity.  I think both teams are missing some people who had a major impact on last year’s series.  Gary Neal had some great moments for San Antonio.  Mike Miller, obviously, had some great moments, had a great run for Miami.
I think both teams are ready, like Mark said.  I don’t think either team has an advantage in that way.  I just think it’s going to be close, hard-fought, a tip of the ball here, a missed free throw there or an injury that crops up or doesn’t heal right could be the difference in who wins it.
Q. Do you think the Heat will have a problem with the Spurs bench with the way Diaw and Ginobili have been playing in the playoffs this year? 
JACKSON:  I believe that the Spurs bench creates match-up problems every single night the way that they’ve played all season long, the way that you cannot identify one guy that comes in and impacts a basketball game.  They do a great job of understanding their roles, being prepared and playing within a system.  I think the difference this year is Ginobili’s fresh body, the way he’s playing.  Diaw is certainly playing at a high level.  I think Patty Mills gives them a guy that can continue to play pick and roll off the bench, Belinelli’s ability to shoot the basketball.
But I think the Heat also have guys that are playing at a high level coming in off the bench.  It was amazing to watch Ray Allen this late in his career still playing with fresh, young legs and a live body.  So I think it’s going to be a chess match as far as both benches in the level that they play.  They very well could, when you talk about the benches, decide who wins this series.
VAN GUNDY:  I love how both teams are constructed.  They surround their best players with shooting and passing so that their best players have enough room to operate.  You look at San Antonio, the floor is spread and they may have weaknesses in some areas, but their guys can shoot and pass.  Same with Miami coming off the bench.  I love Norris Cole, his competitive streak.  I love how Battier comes off and can hit timely threes.  Ray Allen, Mark spoke about, one of the great shooters that’s ever played.
You need to have a team that fits together well, and both teams played beautiful offense because they have Hall of Fame, first-option players surrounded by skilled, smart shooting at the other positions.  I think that’s why this Finals is going to be absolutely beautiful basketball viewing for the fans.
Q. I wondered if you guys thought LeBron James was a better player this season than he was last season? 
 
VAN GUNDY:  I think you would actually have to coach him and watch every possession to really know that.  I think he’s been great from probably his second year on in this league, and he’s had incremental, steady improvement.  But at this date, I think it would be miniscule improvements and Erik Spoelstra would have to be the one to decide if he’s taken a dip in certain areas or he’s upgraded other areas.  That would be hard for me to be perceptive enough to see.
 
JACKSON:  I totally agree with Jeff.  He’s in rare air, and if you look at how great he’s been throughout the course of his career, to me it’s tough to say if he’s better this year than last year.  I just know he’s still great and he’s still playing at a level that we’ve only seen a couple of people play at in the history of this game.
Q. People always make a big deal with the idea of coaching in New York, and it takes a certain type of guy.  You guys worked at other places too.  And Steve Kerr came close to getting the job, a guy that got close to getting the job, a guy with no connection to New York other than Phil Jackson, and same thing with Derek Fisher.  Do we make too much of it?  Is it a little different in New York with all the demands, whether it’s from within the organization, with the media? 
 
VAN GUNDY:  I don’t know if too much is made about it, but I do believe that New York, their fan base, the media coverage helps a coach coach his team well.  I think there is a misnomer that New York demands someone famous.  I mean, I just don’t believe that.  I think they embrace – New York embraces, to me, everybody that works hard, competes, shows confidence in what they do and fights for their team, whether it’s player, coach, management person, owner, whatever it is.
So I think this idea to be a star before you come in there to either play or coach is wrong.  I think New York fans have a patience to allow someone to develop and get better.  I’ve always thought that the thinking of them having to win right away, and they wouldn’t undertake a rebuilding plan, New York fans – I’ve always disagreed with that as well.  I think they’re bright and they understand where a team is at at any particular time.  But they do want to see progress, and they want to see effort, and they want to see a combative spirit on the floor.  If you do that, I think you’ll be appreciated.
JACKSON:  Obviously, Jeff can answer the question better from a head coaching aspect in New York City, but as a kid that grew up in New York City and with the Knicks, everybody’s not made for New York City, whether you’re in management, whether you’re playing, whether you’re coaching.  I can remember as a kid watching very good to great players play other places, be traded to the Knicks and not be the same player, whereas some propelled when they got the opportunity to put on a Knicks uniform.  It’s something about the fans.  It’s something about the pressure.  It’s something about the media.
So to be quite honest, everybody is not built for it.  It’s a different animal.  It’s a different monster.  It takes special personality and a person understanding the things that come into play to a tee.  I thought, obviously I’m biased, but I thought Jeff did an incredible job juggling all of them during his time as head coach of the Knicks, but everybody’s not capable or qualified to do just that.
Q. You had a nice debate going about the Greg Oden, Kevin Durant draft class, do you think we’ll see more of that during The Finals?  And do you think you’ll fill in for Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless on First Take
 
VAN GUNDY:  I can say that they broke the mold with those two guys, so there is no replacing those two.  But I would say this.  Mark and I agree on everything, basically, except what we don’t agree with which is about everything too.  I think we even agreed on that, but got bogged down in semantics.  I just, the idea that because everybody would have taken Oden first wouldn’t have made it the right selection.
Durant from his physical, to his great career, hey, you make mistakes in the Draft, and Oklahoma City was the beneficiary of a mistake by Portland.  You know, he’s proven out to be – I think he’s going to be one of the all-time, all-time greats.  I’m not sure what we were arguing about, but I remember Mark was wrong.
JACKSON:  Well, I will say that Stephen A. and Skip do an outstanding job, and they’re enjoyable to watch, but they do have substitutes so I think it would be a great opportunity.
What you see with Jeff and I, the thing I love about it is we don’t create the moment.  Sitting there talking with a mic, you get the same thing if you sat with us at a restaurant.  We’re going to grab different topics, we’re going to have different opinions, we’re going to honestly and respectfully agree or disagree, and it’s going to be entertaining.
So the thing I love about it is I was raised in a household that way, and Jeff is like family to me, so it’s something I truly enjoy doing.  I’m sure you’ll see – who knows what the topic will be, but you’ll certainly see plenty of that starting Game One.
Q. How useful a motivation is it to the Spurs to look back 12 months ago to what happened in The Finals?  As a coach, how would you channel that correctly to benefit the team? 
 
VAN GUNDY:  I think too much is made about last year and the motivation it provides for this year.  You don’t get to this point if you need some outside force to motivate you.  I also think Duncan’s quote about they’re going to,  I forget the exact words, but they’re going to do better and win this year, like that’s going to motivate LeBron James and Dwyane Wade like they were sitting there in the need of some motivation from the outside, external motivation.  I don’t think you need to channel anything.  I think both teams are ready.  Both teams are great, great teams.  I think the games and the script has yet to be written, but I think it’s going to be an interesting one.
 
JACKSON:  I believe your question was geared towards the Spurs, so that’s the way I’ll answer it.  But I believe that you don’t get caught up in what happened yesterday, meaning last year in The Finals, if you’re the Spurs.  They’ve already put together an incredible season post last year’s Finals experience.  So, my mindset would be don’t get caught up in yesterday and lose sight of the now.
The bottom line is they have an opportunity, and they are back in position to win a championship.  That’s old news and let’s move forward.  They’ve done an incredible job, and I think that’s been their mindset the entire season, and that’s why they’re in this position again.
Q. What do you both feel are the main differences between last year’s Heat and Spurs teams and this year’s and what do you think will be different in the series? 
 
VAN GUNDY:  I think Ginobili and Wade’s health are better, Parker’s health is not as good.  Both are missing shooting that had an impact on the series.  Neal for San Antonio, Miller for the Heat.  And I think to me the Kawhi Leonard-LeBron James match-up becomes even more fascinating the second time around because we know where James is at.  We don’t know where Leonard is going to reach.  But when you look at his demeanor, his improving skillset, this guy has a chance to be very, very, very good.  I love watching him compete against James.  So that’s still to me the best part of this series.
JACKSON:  I agree with Jeff.  I think the health of Wade and Ginobili will play a huge factor.  They’re at a different place right now.  I think the difference is the role players of San Antonio.  They’ve enhanced, like I said earlier, difference is having a guy like Patty Mills who really was a third point guard last year, played a huge part and had a great year for them in his ability to play out of pick and rolls.  Going and getting Belinelli, another guy that can stretch the floor and play out the pick and roll.  Last year pretty much Ginobili was the impact player off the bench creating offense.  This year it’s other guys, and they’ve got live weapons all around the floor.
 
With the Heat, it’s just Wade is playing at a high-level right now, and it takes the pressure off of LeBron to pretty much carry them.  I think that’s a huge difference.
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The Finals on ABC to Tip Off June 5: Miami Heat vs. San Antonio Spurs

NBA_on_ABCNBA Finals on ESPN Radio, ESPN Deportes; NBA Countdown, SportsCenter & First Take on Site

The Finals on ABC will begin Thursday, June 5, at 9 p.m. ET with Game One between the defending NBA Champion Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs in a rematch from the 2013 NBA Finals. Mike Breen – the voice of the NBA Finals – will provide play-by-play with analysts Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson, reporter Doris Burke and officiating expert Steve Javie. The Finals on ABC is also available on ESPN Radio, ESPN Deportes, ESPN3 and WatchABC.

The Finals on ABC production highlights:

  • updated broadcast open celebrating the greatest players and moments from the NBA Finals;
  • I-MOVIX cameras presenting dramatic slow motion replays from unparalleled vantage points;
  • 36 high-definition video cameras;
  • use of eight Super Slo Mo cameras;
  • SkyCam providing aerial views of the action;
  • former NBA referee Steve Javie to contribute insight and analysis of officiating and calls;
  • in-game interviews with coaches and both coaches will be “wired” for the games;
  • pre-game and halftime locker room access.

ESPN Radio – the exclusive national radio home of the NBA Finals in its 19th year of NBA postseason coverage – will nationally broadcast the NBA Finals with Kevin Calabro and analyst Hubie Brown. Additionally, Marc Kestecher and Jon Barry will serve as on-site studio host and analyst, respectively.

ESPN Deportes, for the second straight year, will present exclusive Spanish-language coverage of the NBA Finals. The telecasts will feature the commentary of Alvaro Martin and the analysis of Coach Carlos Morales.The games will be followed by SportsCenter presenting comprehensive on-site coverage and reporting from Sebastian Martinez Christensen and Alejandro Montecchia, who will also serve as sideline reporters during the games.

NBA Finals schedule with 2-2-1-1-1 format

Date Time Broadcast
Thurs, June 5 9 p.m. Miami Heat at San Antonio Spurs (Gm. 1)
Sun, June 8 8 p.m. Miami Heat at San Antonio Spurs (Gm. 2)
Tues, June 10 9 p.m. San Antonio Spurs at Miami Heat (Gm. 3)
Thurs, June 12 9 p.m. San Antonio Spurs at Miami Heat (Gm. 4)
Sun,  June 15 8 p.m. Miami Heat at San Antonio Spurs (Gm. 5) *if necessary
Tues, June 17 9 p.m. San Antonio Spurs at Miami Heat (Gm. 6) *if necessary
Fri, June 20 9 p.m. Miami Heat at San Antonio Spurs (Gm. 7) *if necessary

 

NBA Countdown – ABC’s NBA pre-game and halftime show – will be on site for 30-minute pre-game shows throughout the NBA Finals. Countdown will air at 8:30 p.m. preceding weeknight broadcasts and at 7:30 p.m. on Sundays. Sage Steele hosts NBA Countdown with analysts Jalen Rose, Bill Simmons and Doug Collins.

SportsCenter on ESPN will provide comprehensive, on-site coverage throughout the NBA Finals, beginning on Monday, June 2.  Reporters Chris Broussard and Mark Schwarz will provide daily coverage of the Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs, respectively. Additionally, Jay Harris will host daytime SportsCenter segments, beginning Wednesday, June 4, while Stuart Scott will host the evening SportsCenter segments. In addition, ESPN NBA analysts will be on site to provide commentary, including Tim Legler, Bruce Bowen, George Karl, P.J. Carlesimo and Avery Johnson.

First Take – with host Cari Champion and commentators Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless – will be on site during The Finals with shows airing from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. The First Take set will be located outside of the Hard Rock Café at the San Antonio Riverwalk. In Miami, the set will be located poolside at The Clevelander Hotel on South Beach.

ESPN International will provide live NBA Finals coverage throughout Latin America, the Caribbean and Oceania. In addition, ESPN International will air Spanish-language pre-game shows throughout Latin America (except Brazil) during the NBA Finals.

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Transcript of Indianapolis 500 on ABC Media Conference Call

2014indianapolis500logo

A media conference call was held today to discuss ABC’slive telecast of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 25, beginning at 11 a.m. ET. Participants on the call were ESPN vice president, motorsports, production, Rich Feinberg, along with the three members of ESPN’s booth for the telecast: lap-by-lap announcer Allen Bestwick and analysts Scott Goodyear and Eddie Cheever. This is the 50th consecutive year that the Indianapolis 500 will air on ABC. A transcript of the call follows:

 

RICH FEINBERG: 50 years on ABC.  For me, that starts with a ‘Wow.’  What a run.  My personal memories of the Indy 500 and ABC’s coverage of it date back to when I was a kid.  Memorial Day weekends with my family, appointment viewing.  Those days it was on a tape delay at night.  To see it come around now to the 50-year anniversary is just amazing.

Our team looks at it like it’s a privilege to produce the Indy 500.  It always has been.  It always will be.  It’s a cherished assignment that everybody embraces.  Our goal is quite simple, and that’s to uphold the tradition of excellence in coverage that’s been established by our ABC colleagues over the past 49 years.

That may sound a bit cliché, but it’s a fact.  We do that by focusing our coverage on the drivers and their stories, their team’s race strategy.  Perhaps the most intriguing thing for the casual fan, that’s the speed.  When you’re talking about cars doing over 230 miles an hour, that’s an off-the-charts number.

Through our coverage, we want to make sure our viewers feel like they’re not only enjoying the race but thirsting to be there.  I look forward to being a part of it as I do every year.

ALLEN BESTWICK:  The history for me, when I was a young kid, my dad had racecars at a racetrack in Seekonk, Massachusetts.  Didn’t get much racing on television then, except for the Indianapolis 500.  That was appointment television for us.  As a young boy, watching this race every year sparked my fascination with the broadcasting business, in particular as I continued to follow, watching Jim McKay, the role he played, the variety of sports he did, the excellence with which he did them, and how much you felt like even though you never met him, he was a friend through the television.

So for me all these years later to get a chance to sit in that seat on this occasion, it’s not just bucket list, it’s beyond bucket list.  It’s a little overwhelming to think about how fortunate I am and how honored I am to be part of this.

I can’t wait for Sunday.  It’s been a wonderful month so far and I really look forward to a great race.

SCOTT GOODYEAR:  I can certainly remember the very first time I went to Indianapolis in 1973 with my father.  It was a bit of a surprise visit because I was racing a go-kart and he surprised me on the Saturday night and said, We’re not racing tomorrow, we’re going to drive all night and go to the Indianapolis 500.  It has been a part of my life for a long time.

Then having a chance to go there as a rookie in 1990 as a driver was pretty cool.  Having some reasonable success there, and now having an opportunity as I have done for many years to be in the booth with ABC is truly a privilege.  When we get together for meetings, there’s a lot of passion and pride to being involved in this race.

For me, I view this race now from the television booth almost like a driver.  There are the super teams that you anticipate will do well, there are teams in the middle of the road that have a good shot at it, then there are teams there participating, if they’re in the top 10 at the end of the day they feel pretty lucky.

The split between group one and group two seems like it’s been shrinking for the past couple years.  This year, smaller teams winning some events, Long Beach and the Indy GP, that might be true this weekend.

Ed Carpenter, surprising everybody.  Neat to do qualifying, see the frustration on the big teams’ faces because they are missing some answers.

Indianapolis is all about the weather literally, the sense of what it can do to your racecar; emotions, what it can do to you as a driver.  That’s just qualifying.  The race is no different.

What I watched in practice yesterday from the group racing, last year practice shows it’s going to have the same thing for this coming Indy 500.  Excited about it.

Somebody asked me the other day, Pick a winner.  I don’t think I can.  I think there’s an honest 10, 12 people that can win this event.  Eddie and I were talking about it.  If you were betting in Vegas, it would be hard to put your money on somebody.  Looking forward to it.

EDDIE CHEEVER:  I dreamed about it as a child when I was living in Italy, I heard it on the radio.  I kept racing.  I was lucky to come here and race.  I was lucky enough to win it.  Now I’m going to be sitting in the booth with two friends calling the 50th anniversary of ABC calling the Indy 500.  I don’t know how it could be any better than that.

It’s going to be a very exciting race.  There’s too many stories to sit down and go through them one by one, so many different possibilities, that I really think it’s going to go down as one of the most exciting races we’ve ever had at Indy.  And when you consider how we ended last lap, the result would have probably changed if the race would have gone another 400 yards, and I expect we’ll see the same thing on Sunday.

Q.         Eddie and Scott, there’s two names that have returned this year that link back to some important moments in IndyCar recent history, with Villeneuve coming back, and Montoya being back.  What do you think about having both of those names back in the field?  Have you heard from fans?  Do you feel there’s a different vibe having them back? 

EDDIE CHEEVER:  They’re two totally different types of drivers.  They have been extremely successful in Formula One.  Villeneuve is a Formula One world champion, which in my books is as high as it gets in open-wheel racing.

I knew Villeneuve’s father very well when we were racing together in Formula One.  I remember driving back around in a car where I was doing the steering and — he was doing the steering and I was doing the throttle.  I was never pushing on the throttle strong enough.

I have a great interest in seeing him do very well.  I think he’ll approach the race differently.  He’s with a smaller team.  He already looks like he’s starting to think about how he will prepare himself for those last laps.

A lot of people have gravitated to him during the race.  As the race goes on, people will remember the great win he had not too long ago.

Montoya is racing for Penske.  He’s committed to the series for the whole season, whereas Villeneuve is committed for one race for the moment.

He’s had an exciting beginning, but not quite up to pace where everybody expected him to do well.  He all of a sudden laid down a very good lap on the day of qualifying.

I think you’ll really see a lot of aggressive moves from Montoya early on.  He’s going for a perfect record, having competed only twice.  I really think he has a good chance of winning.

There’s a lot of excitement whenever you mention the word ‘Montoya’ in the pits, even amongst the drivers.  Whereas Villeneuve, he’s going to have to build that back up, but there’s a lot of respect for what he has done.

SCOTT GOODYEAR:  I think everything Eddie said is spot on.  The interesting thing for me is I had an opportunity to spend half an hour with Jacques in the garage area a week ago.  Through all the questions I was asking him, catching up with him, I asked him, Why come back to something that you’ve won, have great memories with?  Why come back after a 19-year absence?

He said, Racing is my oxygen.  I need to race something.  I loved it.  It didn’t really interest me for quite a few years.  But I’ve been watching it for the last year, year and a half, and he said it’s something he would like to go back to.

He said he would like to come back to the series next year and run full-time, if it’s possible.  If this is an audition to get his feet wet and make sure that he can go out and let people know his interest, it may be.  I’m not sure that if everybody is running strong at the end of the day that he has enough experience in these new cars, which he says are different to drive, to be a contender.  I think finishing in the top 10 would be a success for him and the team.

With Montoya, I’ll add to what Eddie said, every driver you speak to in the paddock says that when he has enough time underneath his belt in these cars, from being in the tin tops for the last little while, they’re going to worry that he’s going to be dominating like he was before, from the factor that he’ll be one of those guys you’ll be battling with in the top 3-5.  As.

The drivers say, they have enough drivers they have to contend with.  A lot of respect for Montoya in the garage area.

Q.         Is it good generally for the series to have both of those drivers back? 

EDDIE CHEEVER:  I think it’s phenomenal, exceptional.  Montoya brings a lot of Formula One sense.  Montoya brings a lot of people back to watching open-wheel racing.

Villeneuve, I can’t repeat it enough, was a Formula One champion.  His father was, I would say, one of the top three drivers that ever drove for Ferrari.  The history, the whole amount of energy they bring is tremendous to anything they participate in.

Q.         This is the first time we have a youngster from Nazareth, Pennsylvania, not named Andretti.  I wanted Scott and Eddie’s take on the young Sage Karam, in high school still.  Your thoughts of his challenges, how he might add to the storyline on Sunday

SCOTT GOODYEAR:  When I met him earlier this month and spent some time with him, speaking with him in the garage, nice young man.  At 19 years of age, times have changed, because at 19, I was just finishing karting and about ready to take my first day of Formula Ford school.

We were talking about this on our conference call this morning.  They almost have harnessed him back a little bit because the team says he is very eager to get going and is trying to get so much accomplished in a short amount of time.

As a rookie here, you can be very fast.  But 500 miles is such a long, long time on the racetrack.  I always broke it up into five 100-mile races.  You have to get yourself through it and not rush.

This will be interesting for Villeneuve and Montoya.  It’s been a while since they’ve come here and run this race.  Everybody is anxious.  Seems like it happens between 250 and 300 miles.  Everybody seems like they want to get going.  I always did.

For him as a rookie, he’s going to have to be throttled back, have somebody good with him on the radio talking to him, his spotter is going to have to do well.  He has enthusiasm, good looks, an American, so he has a bright future ahead of him.

EDDIE CHEEVER:  Just to add to what Scott said, talent and youth and energy are wonderful things to have.  Don’t really fit in that well in how you approach the Indy 500.  Here you have to have an enormous amount of patience.  You have to be willing to listen to the pits.  You have to be able to pick yourself up from a bad stint with the tires not working or you have some sort of problem.

It will be a great testament to his ability if he can finish the 500.

We saw another youngster last year from Colombia called Munoz, Scott and I were betting which lap he was going to crash because he was almost in the grass, but he made it.

Those things that carry you forward in open-wheel racing on a street course don’t really come much into play around the Speedway.

Q.         Marco Andretti, your take on Marco?  Seems like he can’t get over the hump.  Very close, very much in contention for a good portion of the race last year.  It just didn’t happen for him.  Same thing happened a couple weeks later at Pocono where he had the dominant car all weekend.  Seems like he’s there every week. 

EDDIE CHEEVER:  He is always a threat to win.  It’s his family’s team.  He has been very quick.  His rookie year at Indy was unbelievable.  He lost by the smallest of margins.  He is unfortunate in that he has some incredibly talented teammates.

He’s really going to be judged not so much by the fact that he wins or doesn’t win, but how he compares with his teammates.  That’s a tall order.

SCOTT GOODYEAR:  I would be delighted to see Marco win from the standpoint that I understand what it’s like to come to win this event, but not, obviously in ’92 and ’97 being second, obviously ’95 across the line first and being disqualified.

Regardless, it’s a scenario that weighs on you every racetrack you go to.  It weighs on you when you come back here to the Indianapolis 500.  For him, I’m sure he thinks about it.  I talked to him about it.  He said, No, it’s behind me, I don’t think about it too much.

But you do.  I always looked at it like you’ll get another chance.  I’m sure he feels the same way.

When you get close to the end of your career, then when you retire, and you haven’t accomplished that goal, which is the reason your living, breathing and racing, and your last name is Andretti, and the pressure that’s on a third-generation driver, I would love to see him win.  It would be great for him, his family, and our sport to have Andretti win again.

Q.         Allen, from everything I understand, Kurt Busch is resonating well with the fans and other drivers at Indy.  Have you noticed anything different in his demeanor or mannerisms or attitude when he’s out there in an IndyCar than you’ve noticed when he’s maybe in the NASCAR garage. 

ALLEN BESTWICK:  I think anytime you go someplace and try something new and different for the first time, have a little bit of success at it, you’re going to have a little pep in your step.

Think about how much Kurt has hung himself out there by doing this.  I’ll borrow Eddie’s thought about this.  Here is a guy who is a NASCAR champion.  All the race wins he’s accumulated.  He was willing to put that reputation out there on the line for the world to step out and try and drive a type of racecar he’d never driven before.

I’ve seen nothing but good things from Kurt.  I see a guy who is determined to master it, has fit in very well with his teammates, has dug into the engineering, the aerodynamics, driving techniques, soaked it up like a sponge, acquitted himself very, very well in an IndyCar.  I’m not surprised by that.  We know Kurt is a heck of a racecar driver.

I’m not surprised he’s acquitted himself well.  He’s having fun.  He understands the challenge ahead of him.  He got a taste of the difficulty of that challenge yesterday.  You can say he’s gotten the full Indy experience now.

But I’ve seen nothing but smiles from Kurt.  Why not, right?  He had the guts to put himself out there and try this.  He’s doing well.  He has the opportunity to have a good, solid race experience on Sunday and do something he probably never thought he’d get the chance to do in his life.  I can relate to that.  It makes you smile.

Q.         Eddie, I’ve seen some of your comments in recent weeks.  What are your impressions of Kurt in an IndyCar? 

EDDIE CHEEVER:  I am totally impressed by everything he has done in the car.  Going out and turning into turn one when you’re up at speed, and engineers have told you, Don’t take your foot off the throttle, you’re talking to yourself telling yourself it’s going to be okay.  That’s a difficult moment even in a racecar driver that’s done it his whole life, to be committed to doing that.

He’s been incredibly fast.  Every hurdle he got to, other than yesterday, when he got very lucky and hit the wall at the right angle.  Other than that, I am just impressed.  When he had to go out and do his qualifying run, that’s 230, that is really moving the mail.  That’s fast.  Turning into turn one at 236 miles an hour, and everybody said that the cars were sliding at the end of their run because they were so much on the limit trying to trim them out.  He went and did it as if he’s been doing it his whole life.

He is talented and incredibly brave.  If he digests this last hit he had, it took me a long time to digest, if he can go through that, he’s in that leading group at the end of the race, I would consider him a possible top-three finisher, if he gets through all the problems during the race.  But he’s been incredible.  I’m very impressed.

Q.         Rich, 92 cameras planned.  Why the increase this year?  Are any of those specialty cameras? 

RICH FEINBERG:  The 92 is actually in concert pretty close to what we did last year.  36 of those cameras are on racecars.  We will have this year a complement of 12 different teams, including Helio Castroneves, Tony Kanaan, Juan Pablo Montoya, Simon Pagenaud, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Ed Carpenter, all carrying on-camera systems.  All 36 are on track, if you would.

The remaining cameras include some specialty things.  We will have a helicopter cam for the entire race.  We have several ultraslow motion cameras that we have strategically placed around the track.  We have wall cams.  We have grass cams.  We have hand-held cams.  We have robotic cams.  I think we got the place pretty well wired up.

The unique thing about this race, racing in general, is the size of the playing field is gigantic, so it takes more.  We’re always watching multiple things.  A lot of our camera systems allow us to focus on multiple battles on the track to make sure we can document as much of the action as we can for the fans.

It is a very large production, one of the largest that we do every year.  Tremendous credit to our technical and engineering staff to put together this system and ultimately I think our fans are the benefactors of it.

Q.         Are there any other production enhancements planned? 

RICH FEINBERG:  Well, we’ve made some changes since we were at the track last.  I’d start with probably the most noticeable one for our fans will be welcoming Allen Bestwick to the family.  Allen and I have worked together for many, many years.  I know not only he’s excited about doing the project, but I’m just as excited to have him along.  He’s one of the best in the business, and I think our fans will really enjoy his call.

We have some new graphic elements we’re using.  We have some good feature stories we’ll tell before we get going with the race.  As I said earlier, our ultimate job is to tell the stories of the drivers, and to the best of our ability, through the pictures and through the sounds, create that thirst for our viewers to want to be there and enjoy this very special sporting event.

Q.         Allen, you’ve had a very long career in calling NASCAR races.  How does it feel to be in the open-wheel world now? 

ALLEN BESTWICK:  It feels pretty good.  It’s been a great experience so far.  It’s funny because for as long as I’ve been around racing, I’ve spent my whole career in the month of May in Charlotte basically and watched the 500 from afar.

I’ve been at the Speedway, around the NASCAR race there since 1994, so when I walked in the gate this month, it wasn’t a new experience for me to be at the Speedway.  I knew where the gate was to get in and I knew where the TV compound was, where the booth was.  I knew where to find things.  It’s not a completely new experience at the Speedway.

Then I’ve had great support from Rich and my bosses to do the research that I needed to do.  I spent time in Indianapolis in February just after the Daytona 500.  Some of the race teams were more than gracious in welcoming me in.  I went through IndyCars from top to bottom at team shops.  Had dinners and lunches with drivers and team managers.  I’ve had plenty of time to acclimate myself – short way to say it – the same thing done differently.

It’s still an auto race.  The object is still to get the distance covered from start to finish in the least amount of time possible.  Terminology, styles, strategies are a little different.

I look forward to the race.  Obviously it’s the premiere auto race in the United States, maybe the world, every year.  To have the opportunity to call it is a fascinating thing.  I’m more excited than anything because it’s been a great experience so far.  I can’t wait to see what race day is like in person.

Q.         For Scott and Eddie, obviously you have a lot of experience on both sides.  There’s so many changes in TV in 50 years.  Probably what hasn’t changed much is the raw talent that open-wheel drivers share.  What special traits do you think open-wheel drivers have to be able to perform so well in what is basically a road rocket before enormous crowds on prime ABC TV? 

SCOTT GOODYEAR:  I think for me, now that I’ve stepped away from it, I honestly believe that you can be trained to be a very good, proficient driver that can compete at IndyCar level.  But I think the ones that are winning and are just a little bit faster have something different.  I think it might be something that you’re just born with.

There’s been that question for years and years, especially when we talk about different generations of drivers.  When you stand at a road course, you watch a guy like Will Power drive around, even his fellow competitors say that they expect him to be on pole everywhere they go to on a road course.

You go to ovals and see the smoothness of guys like Scott Dixon, and honestly a very impressive Ed Carpenter.  Ed obviously trained hard, not through the road courses, because he’s not that great on a road course, but he spent so many years doing the midgets and the dirt cars.

I think it’s training and then I think you have to have a little bit of a gift.

With that I think I am more impressed now than I was when I was doing it.  When you’re doing it, you eat, breathe and sleep it.  You expect to be good.  You expect to be competitive.  You don’t feel that you’re doing anything different than anybody else ’cause you’re getting up, going and doing your job every day.

It’s only when you step away from it like I have, and maybe Eddie feels this way, you truly understand how different your occupation was when you’re sitting in a racecar.

Our racecar happened to weigh 1500 pounds and have in our day 900 horsepower, now they’re about 725.  And, oh, yeah, as Eddie mentioned earlier, we go into turn one at 230, 240 miles an hour and don’t take our foot off the gas.

The last comment I’ll make on all that is when you’re doing it back then, it seems like it’s in slow motion.  It seems like the straightaways are long, and I guess that’s what I guess they call being in the zone in other sports.

When you’re getting ready to retire, you notice that life is going by a little quicker in the racecar than it did before.  That’s probably the first indication it’s time to go find something else to do.

I know how difficult it is, I know how brave you are when you’re doing it.  That’s the neat thing I think when I watch the cars go around today.

EDDIE CHEEVER:  Having raced for a decade in Formula One, Monaco, Spa, everywhere else, then coming to Indy, I don’t say this trying to make a joke of it, I think you have to be a little bit crazy when you’re racing on the limit at the Indianapolis 500.

It is, I would say by far and away, the most dangerous and most intoxicating race that I have ever been a part of.  When you have to throw a car into a corner at 235 miles an hour, two feet behind a car that’s doing the same speed, another car that’s trying to pass you, do all this and stay away from that horribly hard wall, you have to be a little bit different.

The more time I had spent with A.J. Foyt, Unser, Andretti, there’s a common thread:  they’re all capable of dealing with the danger very well and yet perform at such a high level.

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Indianapolis 500 Airing on ABC for 50th Consecutive Year

2014indianapolis500logo

ESPN3 to Offer Second Screen Experience with Onboard Camera Views

Continuing a Memorial Day weekend TV tradition that began in 1965, ABC will air the Indianapolis 500 for the 50th consecutive year on Sunday, May 25. The telecast of the 98th running of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing begins with a one-hour pre-race show at 11 a.m. ET with the green flag waving at 12:12 p.m.

What began as highlights in black-and-white on ABC’s Wide World of Sports in 1965 has evolved into ESPN’s massive production of the modern telecast for ABC, one of the largest and most complex that ESPN does each year. The production will utilize 92 cameras to televise the premier event of the Verizon IndyCar Series, including three onboard cameras per car in 12 of the 33 cars competing in the race.

The relationship between ABC and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is one of the longest-running between a network and a sporting event. Weekend coverage of the Masters has aired on CBS since 1956, and ABC has aired the Little League World Series since 1963.

“The stewardship of ABC’s storied history at the Indianapolis 500 is something we take very seriously,” said Jed Drake, ESPN senior vice president and executive producer. “The heritage of this event, and the pure excitement and spectacle of it, are what we look forward to bringing to our viewers every year.”

During the past 49 telecasts of the race, some of the most familiar names in sports television history have been part of ABC’s coverage, led by the legendary Jim McKay, who called the race for 18 years and served as telecast host for two others. Chris Schenkel, Bill Flemming, Keith Jackson, Al Michaels, Jim Lampley and Brent Musburger have all served in various roles on the telecast.

The “Dean of Motorsports Journalists,” Chris Economaki, originated the role of pit reporter and was part of many Indianapolis 500 telecasts on ABC, while former Indy 500 winner Rodger Ward originated the driver-analyst position that was later filled by Jackie Stewart, Sam Posey, Bobby Unser, Rusty Wallace, Tom Sneva, Arie Luyendyk and others. Paul Page anchored the telecast 14 times and before his late night career, David Letterman was a pit reporter on the 1971 telecast.

Allen Bestwick will become the 10th person to call the race on ABC when he makes his debut this year.

“One of the things that sparked my fascination with broadcasting was that appointment viewing of the broadcast of the Indianapolis 500 with Jim McKay behind the microphone,” said Bestwick. “It’s one of those things that attracted me and inspired me to get into the business and to think that I’m going to have the opportunity to sit in that chair – THAT chair – is mind-blowing.”

Joining Bestwick in the broadcast booth will be analysts Scott Goodyear and Eddie Cheever, both former Indy 500 competitors. ESPN SportsCenter anchor Lindsay Czarniak will host the telecast from the Speedway’s iconic Pagoda while pit reporters will be Rick DeBruhl, Jamie Little, Dr. Jerry Punch and Vince Welch.

ABC’s Indianapolis 500 telecast will be produced under the oversight of ESPN vice president, motorsports, production Rich Feinberg. Shawn Murphywill produce the race telecast and Bruce Watson will direct, while Terry Lingner will produce the pre-race show with Chip Dean directing.

Viewers of the ABC telecast will have the option of a second screen experience through a choice of live streaming video from the onboard cameras on ESPN3, ESPN’s multi-screen live sports network. ESPN3 will carry the feeds exclusively through WatchESPN and on Indycar.com. ESPN3 is accessible online at WatchESPN.com, on smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app and streamed on televisions through ESPN on Xbox LIVE to Gold members, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV and Roku.  The network is currently available to more than 92 million homes at no additional cost to fans who receive their high-speed Internet connection or video subscription from an affiliated service provider.  The network is also available at no cost to approximately 21 million U.S. college students and U.S.-based military personnel via computers, smartphones and tablets connected to on-campus educational and on-base military broadband and Wi-Fi networks.

Among the features that will air during the pre-race show or in ESPN SportsCenter’s Indianapolis 500 coverage:

  • ESPN’s Chris Connelly tells the story of Tony Kanaan’s lucky charm, a medallion given to him by his mother, shared by him to a girl facing life-saving brain surgery, and returned to him, days before he won the most important race of his life.
  • ESPN The Magazine senior writer Ryan McGee interviewed some 30 current and former ABC announcers and behind-the-scenes production personnel in search of unique and interesting memories of some of the greatest and memorable Indy 500 telecast moments over the past 50 years.
  • Helio Castroneves was the first driver to climb the fence to celebrate his wins, a tradition so loved by fans that he is forever begged by fans to climb in their seat section. And so enjoyed by the racing community that even Tony Stewart couldn’t resist copying ‘Spiderman’. Now he’d like a 4th climb at the Indy 500.
  • A Memorial Day feature: the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier honors those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. And so the sentinels stand guard. Their uniforms meticulous, their movements precise and their commitment unflagging, Every hour, every day, year after year.
  • Former NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Kurt Busch, competing in the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca Cola 600 at Charlotte in the same day, will be interviewed prior to the race.

In addition to television in the United States on ABC and Watch ABC, ESPN also distributes Verizon IndyCar Series race telecasts through a combination of ESPN networks and syndication to more than 198 countries and 101 million homes. Also, U.S. troops serving overseas and on Navy vessels around the world can watch live via a broadcast agreement between ESPN and the American Forces Network.

Timeline – 50 Years of Indy 500 on ABC

  • Charlie Brockman, an Indianapolis media personality who had called the closed-circuit broadcasts of the Indy 500 in previous years, is play-by-play announcer for the first telecast in 1965 on ABC’s Wide World of Sports.
  • ABC veteran Chris Schenkel calls the 1966 race telecast.
  • In 1967, the race appears in color for the first time and Jim McKay calls the first of his 18 Indy 500 telecasts.
  • Former race winner Rodger Ward joins McKay in the 1967 telecast in the new role of driver-analyst.
  • In 1971, for the first time, ABC’s coverage of the Indianapolis 500 airs as a same-day, stand-alone, tape-delayed telecast in prime time rather than as part of the Wide World of Sports program.
  • In 1975, Keith Jackson handles anchor duties for ABC as Jim McKay misses the race for the only time between 1967 and his final race in 1987.
  • In 1983, Al Unserand Rick Mearscarry onboard cameras, the first used in Indy 500 coverage.
  • In 1986, after many years of tape-delayed telecasts, the race is televised live for the first time.
  • In 1987, Jim McKay, who serves as host, works his 20th and final Indianapolis 500 for ABC (18 years in play-by-play role, two years as host).
  • In 2004, several rain delays take the telecast to 8 l/2 hours, making for one of the longest single-event telecasts ever.
  • Also in 2004, Jamie Little makes her debut as a pit reporter, the first woman ever in that role at the Indy 500.
  • In 2006, ABC introduces the “side-by-side” format, allowing viewers to continue watching the action during national commercial breaks.
  • In 2007, the race is televised in High Definition for the first time. Also, for the first time, two women work as pit reporters in coverage as Brienne Pedigo joins Jamie Little in the pits.
  • In 2011, ESPN and Indianapolis Motor Speedway announce a new six-year agreement to begin in 2013 to keep the Indianapolis 500 on ABC through 2018, including the 100th running in 2016, and make ABC the exclusive broadcast network partner of the IndyCar Series.
  • The 100th Anniversary Indianapolis 500 airs on ABC in 2011, the 47th consecutive year the network has televised the event.
  • In 2012, ESPN introduces a second-screen experience to the Indianapolis 500 telecast with streaming onboard cameras available for viewing on ESPN3 during the race telecast.
  • In 2013, ESPN SportsCenter anchor Lindsay Czarniak becomes the first woman to host ABC’s Indianapolis 500 telecast.

Indianapolis 500 lap-by-lap announcers on ABC

(1965-2014)

1965 – Charlie Brockman

1966 – Chris Schenkel

1967-1974 – Jim McKay

1975 – Keith Jackson

1976-1985 – Jim McKay

1986-1987 – Jim Lampley

1988-1998 – Paul Page

1999-2001 – Bob Jenkins

2002-2004 – Paul Page

2005 – Todd Harris

2006 – 2013 – Marty Reid

2014 – Allen Bestwick

Summary:

Jim McKay – 18 years (two additional years as host)

Paul Page – 14 years

Marty Reid – 8 years

Bob Jenkins – 3 years

Jim Lampley – 2 years

Charlie Brockman, Todd Harris, Keith Jackson, Chris Schenkel – 1 year

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ABC & ESPN to Present 2014 NBA Eastern Conference Finals: Pacers vs. Heat

NBA-on-ESPN-logoNBA Countdown on Site for Pre-game and Halftime Shows throughout Eastern Conference Finals

2014 NBA Draft Lottery on ESPN Prior to Game Two of Eastern Conference Finals

ESPN Radio to Nationally Broadcast Both Conference Finals Series

ABC and ESPN will combine to present the 2014 NBA Eastern Conference Finals between the two-time reigning NBA Champion Miami Heat with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade and the top-seeded Indiana Pacers with Paul George and Roy Hibbert. The series starts Sunday, May 18, on ABC with Game One at 3:30 p.m. ET from Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. Mike Breen, analyst Jeff Van Gundy and reporter Doris Burke (@HeyDB)will provide commentary throughout the series.

NBA Countdown – ABC’s and ESPN’s NBA pre-game show – will hit the road for on-site pre-game and halftime shows throughout the Eastern Conference Finals. Countdown will precede every Eastern Conference Finals telecast on ABC and ESPN, starting Sunday at 3 p.m. on ABC. Additional Countdown telecasts will generally begin at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN. NBA Countdown is hosted by Sage Steele (@SageSteele) with analysts Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons), Jalen Rose (@JalenRose) and Doug Collins.

The 2014 NBA Draft Lottery will air live on ESPN prior to Eastern Conference Finals Game Two at 8 p.m. Mark Jones (@MarkJonesESPN) will host Draft Lottery coverage with Jay Bilas (@JayBilas) and Heather Cox (@HeatherESPN). The telecast will include interviews with draftees and team representatives.

ESPN Radio – the exclusive, national radio home of the NBA Playoffs in its 19th season of NBA postseason coverage – will nationally broadcast both the Eastern Conference Finals and the Western Conference Finals (San Antonio Spurs vs. Oklahoma City Thunder). Marc Kestecher (@MarcKestecher) and analyst Jon Barry will describe the action for the Eastern Conference Finals, while Kevin Calabro (@RealKCalabro) and Hubie Brown will handle commentary for the Western Conference Finals.

ESPN Deportes will also televise the Eastern Conference Finals with Alvaro Martin and Carlos Morales calling the action. In addition, Claudia Trejos and Sebastian Martinez Christensen will serve as the pre-game and halftime team.

ESPN International will have coverage of both Conference Finals series. The Eastern Conference Finals will be available throughout South America, Central America, Mexico, Caribbean and Oceania, while the Western Conference Finals will be available in Oceania.

2014 Eastern Conference Finals and NBA Countdown schedule:

Date Time (ET) Telecast Network(s)
Sun, May 18 3 p.m. NBA Countdown ABC, WatchABC
  3:30 p.m. Game One: Miami Heat at Indiana Pacers ABC, ESPN Radio, ESPN Deportes, WatchABC, ESPN3
Tues, May 20 7 p.m. Kia NBA Countdown ESPN, WatchESPN
  8 p.m. 2014 NBA Draft Lottery ESPN, WatchESPN
  8:30 p.m. Game Two: Miami Heat at Indiana Pacers ESPN, ESPN Radio, ESPN Deportes, WatchESPN
Sat, May 24 7:30 p.m. Kia NBA Countdown ESPN, WatchESPN
  8:30 p.m. Game Three: Indiana Pacers at Miami Heat ESPN, ESPN Radio, ESPN Deportes, WatchESPN
Mon, May 26 7:30 p.m. Kia NBA Countdown ESPN, WatchESPN
  8:30 p.m. Game Four: Indiana Pacers at Miami Heat ESPN, ESPN Radio, ESPN Deportes, WatchESPN
Wed, May 28 7:30 p.m. Kia NBA Countdown ESPN, WatchESPN
  8:30 p.m. Game Five: Miami Heat at Indiana Pacers *if necessary ESPN, ESPN Radio, ESPN Deportes, WatchESPN
Fri, May 30 7:30 p.m. Kia NBA Countdown ESPN, WatchESPN
  8:30 p.m. Game Six:  Indiana Pacers at Miami Heat *if necessary ESPN, ESPN Radio, ESPN Deportes, WatchESPN
Sun, June 1 7:30 p.m. Kia NBA Countdown ESPN, WatchESPN
  8:30 p.m. Game Seven: Miami Heat at Indiana Pacers *if necessary ESPN, ESPN Radio, ESPN Deportes, WatchESPN

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ABC News Coverage for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil

FIFA-World-Cup-2014_Logo-espnCross-Platform Reporting from Brazil begins Thursday, June 12

ABC News will work closely with ESPN to cover the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil beginning Thursday, June 12. Throughout the tournament ABC News will broadcast from ESPN’s studios at the Clube dos Marimbas on Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro to provide extensive coverage across all programs and platforms.

ABC News Anchor Bob Woodruff will report for ESPN across all platforms and will contribute to ABC News reports along with ESPN Correspondents Jeremy Schaap and Julie Foudy. ABC News Correspondent Paula Faris will report from Brazil on the tournament, athletes, breaking news and other highlights. In addition, ESPN’s World Cup features and interviews will air across ABC News programs, including “Good Morning America,” “World News” and “Nightline.”

ABC News Digital will provide updates of the tournament daily as well as offer users sharable content that will drive the conversation and appeal to fans and novices alike, including an interactive bracket challenge, quizzes and explainers that focus on the intersection of the tournament and pop culture. Users will also be able to tailor their own experiences based on their individual interests. In addition, ABC News Digital will serve up original digital videos from correspondents out in the field as they explore the culture in and around Brazil.

ABC News Radio will also deliver extensive coverage of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. ABC News correspondents will provide reports on newscasts and sportscasts to ABC News Radio affiliates and digital partners from Brazil throughout the tournament.  ABC NewsOne, the network’s affiliate news service, will provide reports for more than 200 ABC affiliates and clients.

ESPN and the 2014 FIFA World Cup

The 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil will be ESPN’s eighth World Cup and most comprehensive presentation to date. ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC will combine to air all 64 matches live and in high definition (June 12July 13). All ESPN and ESPN2 games will be available on WatchESPN, while ABC matches will be available on WATCH ABC. ESPN3, ESPN’s live multi-screen sports network available in more than 85 million homes, will present matches live in multiple languages (other than English and Spanish). ESPN’s presentation will also include comprehensive news and information coverage of the month-long soccer showcase with renowned journalists reporting on the tournament and the host country of Brazil. ESPN garnered more than 40 industry awards, including three Sports Emmys, for its presentation of 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa – more accolades than any single event in the company’s history.

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Earvin “Magic” Johnson Addresses Los Angeles Clippers Owner Donald Sterling on ABC’s NBA Countdown

NBA-on-ESPN-logoBasketball Hall of Famer and former ESPN NBA analyst Earvin “Magic” Johnson made a special appearance today on ABC’s NBA Countdown to address the issue surrounding Los Angeles Clippers Owner Donald Sterling. Johnson joined host Sage Steele and analysts Bill Simmons, Jalen Rose and Doug Collins on the set.

On his initial reaction:

I was really upset. You can’t understand how hurt I was and also I was hurt for all African-Americans and all minorities. Donald Sterling has had issues in the past, so this isn’t the first time. I’ve known Donald, he was one of the first men I met when I came to L.A. Dr. Buss took me to his annual Malibu beach party.  Then I met with Donald two or three times and he wanted to discuss the issues with his Clipper teams. So, I had a friendship with him.  So for him to then make these comments, or alleged comments, about myself and other African-Americans and minorities – there is no place in our society for it and there’s no place in our league because we all get along. We’re all different types of races of people when you play in sports. And then, he’s put his own team in a tough situation.

I believe once Commissioner Silver does his due diligence and he gets all of the information, he’s got to come down hard. He shouldn’t own a team anymore. And, he should stand up and say ‘I don’t want to own a team anymore,’ especially when you have African-Americans renting his apartments, coming to his games, playing for him and coaching for him. This is bad for everybody. This is bad for America. I’m really upset about it.

On not attending Clippers games anymore:

No problem. I have no problem with that. I won’t be going. And then he said other African-Americans – so they’re not welcome either – this is not good. Not just for the league but for America, this is not good. Then I think about how we’ve made him money, but we’re not welcome at the game. You can’t get over that and that’s why everybody is upset – Black, White, Latino – everybody is upset at Donald Sterling right now.

On whether he would have had issues playing for Donald Sterling:

No question about it. And even today, now finding out everything, I wouldn’t want to play for him today. Now, what we have to understand is, all of these young men need their jobs though. They need to take care of themselves and their families. So we can’t blame Doc Rivers or the players. They have to do their jobs to take care of their families and play the game that they love. I’m really upset that we’re here talking about Donald Sterling and this tape when the spotlight should be on the playoffs. These playoffs have been tremendous. Since I’ve been in basketball – the best first round I have ever seen in 35 years of being associated with this league.

On how Chris Paul and Doc Rivers can lead the Clippers going forward:

I talked to Doc Rivers yesterday and I wanted him to understand this: this isn’t his fight or the Clippers fight. We’ll fight the battle for them. Their focus should be on the game. They’ve got a tough series with Golden State and focusing in on how to win Game 4.

Then what’s really crazy is that I’ve been in a similar situation. Spencer Haywood, our sixth man, got suspended in Game 1 and we kicked him off the team. We understood that our sanctuary is that basketball court. The Clippers understand. Chris [Paul] – get your guys ready to play in Game 4. When you hit that court, you don’t worry about what’s going on at home or what people have said about Donald Sterling, all you want to do is focus in on that game. As a matter of fact, it’s going to be good for the Clippers players to hit the floor today.

On how he plans to handle this situation going forward:

It’s really not me. It’s now Adam Silver and the owners of the league. I’m going to say what I’ve been saying all along – he’s got to give up the team. If he doesn’t like African-Americans – he’s in a league that’s over 70 percent African-American. When you have the President of The United States saying that this is bad and you have all the fans all around the country of different races saying its bad, it’s time for him to exit. I don’t know if he will. He’s been used to fighting every battle. The Clipper fans will have a big say-so if he does come back.

On how fans or Clippers family members can support the team:

The fans will have to make a decision because he has a big African-American following and he has a big Latino following and they will speak, trust me. And then when you think about the players – nobody’s going to want to play for the Clippers ever again. They would probably want to play for Doc Rivers and with Chris Paul but it’s going to be hard for them to play for the organization.

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Michael Wilbon on Good Morning America, comments re: Donald Sterling

Sunday’s Good Morning America on ABC included an interview by anchor Bianna Golodryga with ESPN’s Michael Wilbon.

Here are Wilbon’s comments from that interview:

On how damaging this scandal is if the tape recordings are authenticated:

Donald Sterling has no idea what he’s wrought here. We’ve heard from President Obama (who is) out of the country. . . it’s going to be a difficult time for the NBA first of all with Adam Silver, the commissioner, and its investigation which has to wrap up pretty quickly.

If it is Donald Sterling’s voice on the tape there’s going to be so much pressure for Donald Sterling to step down.

There are some complications – the NBA isn’t Major League Baseball, which has anti-trust exemption and the commissioner has wider ranging powers to affect the game than the NBA commissioner does. . . But still, it can be economic, sort of unofficial sanctions, if you will.

People are up in arms. There is legitimate outrage, the kind of which you rarely see in American sports for any owner of a franchise so prominent.

On how NBA Commisioner Adam Silver performed yesterday:

I thought Adam Silver was in an impossible situation following [former commissioner] David Stern who certainly had a command in his 30-plus years as NBA commissioner.

I thought he was a little lawyerly and I thought there could have been more outrage expressed and I understand what Adam Silver was attempting to do.

Moving forward, if that tape is authenticated, we’re going to have to see not just a different Adam Silver, but a different NBA and there are going to have to be sanctions if Donald Sterling does not step down that are severe. A suspension so severe that he will then think about stepping down.

The NBA has nowhere to go but to do that. They’re going to have to demonstrate zero tolerance and as much outrage as some of the players and fans are expressing now.

ABC & ESPN 2013-14 NBA Schedule

nba_espn-300x300Star-Studded Slate to Tip Off with Nov. 1 Doubleheader on ESPN: Defending Champion Miami Heat at New-Look Brooklyn Nets, San Antonio Spurs at Los Angeles Lakers; Blockbuster Christmas Day to Include Oklahoma City Thunder at New York Knicks, Heat at Lakers on ABC

ESPN’s multiplatform coverage of the 2013-14 NBA season will include 90 games, highlighted by 15 exclusive ABC broadcasts and 75 national ESPN telecasts. The schedule will begin with a star-studded doubleheader on Friday, Nov. 1, at 8 p.m. ET when the defending NBA Champion Miami Heat – led by LeBron James and Dwyane Wade – visit the new-look Brooklyn Nets with Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce and first-time coach Jason Kidd. In the nightcap, the Los Angeles Lakers with Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol host the defending Western Conference Champion San Antonio Spurs with Tony Parker and Tim Duncan at 10:30 p.m.

The ABC and ESPN schedule, which collectively includes 16 appearances by both the Miami Heat and the New York Knicks and more than a dozen appearances each by the Los Angeles Lakers, Oklahoma City Thunder and Chicago Bulls, also features flexible scheduling, allowing fans to see the most compelling matchups throughout the season. All ESPN games will be available on computers, smartphones and tablets via WatchESPN. ESPN Radio and ESPN Deportes will also have coverage throughout the season. In addition, the NBA Countdown pre-game show will generally preview ABC and ESPN games or doubleheaders 30 minutes prior to game time.

ABC & ESPN Combine for Five Christmas Day Games

ABC and ESPN will combine to serve as the exclusive national homes of the NBA on Christmas Day. The five-game schedule will be headlined by an ABC doubleheader: the New York Knicks and Carmelo Anthony hosting the Oklahoma City Thunder and Kevin Durant at 2:30 p.m.; the Miami Heat and LeBron James visiting the Los Angeles Lakers and Kobe Bryant at 5 p.m.

Christmas Day will tip off on ESPN when the Brooklyn Nets host the Chicago Bulls – led by Derrick Rose – at 12 p.m. Additionally, ESPN will televise a prime-time doubleheader, starting with the San Antonio Spurs hosting the Houston Rockets and the newly acquired Dwight Howard at 8 p.m., followed by the Golden State Warriors and Stephen Curry hosting the Los Angeles Clippers and Chris Paul at 10:30 p.m.

Christmas Day Schedule

Time (ET) Game Network
12 p.m. Chicago Bulls at Brooklyn Nets ESPN
2:30 p.m. Oklahoma City Thunder at New York Knicks ABC
5 p.m. Miami Heat at Los Angeles Lakers ABC
8 p.m. Houston Rockets at San Antonio Spurs ESPN
10:30 p.m. Los Angeles Clippers at Golden State Warriors ESPN

 

ABC schedule highlights

·        15 exclusive broadcasts, including six doubleheaders – Dec. 25, Jan. 26, Feb. 9, Feb. 23, Mar. 9, Apr. 6;

·        Christmas Day blockbuster doubleheader: Oklahoma City Thunder at New York Knicks at 2:30 p.m.; Miami Heat at Los Angeles Lakers at 5 p.m.;

·        Multiple appearances by the NBA’s biggest superstars, including LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Derrick Rose, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and Carmelo Anthony;

·        Six appearances by the defending champion Miami Heat and the New York Knicks; five appearances each by the Los Angeles Lakers and Chicago Bulls;

·        2013 NBA Finals rematch on Jan. 26 – San Antonio Spurs at Miami Heat at 1 p.m.;

·        Battle for LA on Apr. 6 – Los Angeles Lakers at Los Angeles Clippers at 3:30 p.m.;

·        NBA Countdown pre-game show 30 minutes prior to every ABC game or doubleheader.

ESPN schedule highlights

·        75 national telecasts and 33 doubleheaders, including a Christmas tripleheader;

·        Three Christmas Day games, including Chicago Bulls at Brooklyn Nets at 12 p.m. plus a primetime doubleheader – Houston Rockets at San Antonio Spurs at 8 p.m. and Los Angeles Clippers at Golden State Warriors at 10:30 p.m.;

·        ESPN’s opening night Nov. 1: Miami Heat at Brooklyn Nets at 8 p.m. and San Antonio Spurs at Los Angeles Lakers at 10:30 p.m.;

·        Multiple appearances by the NBA’s biggest superstars, including LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Derrick Rose, Dwight Howard, Dwyane Wade, Kevin Durant, Kevin Garnett, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and Carmelo Anthony and more;

·        Appearances by several of the NBA’s emerging stars, such as 2013 Rookie of the Year Damian Lillard, Ricky Rubio, Kyrie Irving, Ty Lawson, DeMarcus Cousins, Brandon Jennings, Andre Drummond, John Wall and more;

·        Six teams with 10 appearances (the maximum allowed): Chicago Bulls, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, New York Knicks and Oklahoma City Thunder;

·        Chicago Bulls superstar Derrick Rose returns to ESPN on Nov. 6, at 7 p.m. against the Indiana Pacers;

·        New-look Brooklyn Nets to appear nine times, including Garnett and Pierce’s return to Boston against the Celtics on Jan. 26 at 6:30 p.m.; first-time coach Jason Kidd who spent the 2012-13 season with the New York Knicks faces his old teammates twice  on Jan. 20, Apr. 2;

·        New Clippers coach Doc Rivers appears nine times beginning on Nov. 13 at 10:30 p.m. against the Oklahoma City Thunder with several additional matchups including the Los Angeles Lakers (Jan. 10), New York Knicks (Jan. 17) and Miami Heat (Feb. 5);

·        Newly acquired Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard faces his former team, the Los Angeles Lakers, twice (Jan. 8, Feb. 19);

·        Multiple appearances by the Golden State Warriors (9), Los Angeles Clippers (9), San Antonio Spurs (9) and Indiana Pacers (8);

·        Martin Luther King, Jr. Day game – Brooklyn Nets at New York Knicks – Jan. 20, at 2:30 p.m.;

·        The weekend of Super Bowl XLVIII in New York/New Jersey, ESPN will televise two big NBA games in the city: Oklahoma City Thunder at Brooklyn Nets on Fri., Jan. 31, at 8 p.m.; Miami Heat at New York Knicks on Sat., Feb. 1, at 8:30 p.m.

·        Boston Celtics at Los Angeles Lakers renew their classic rivalry on Feb. 21, at 10:30 p.m.;

·        Western Conference Finals rematch – San Antonio Spurs at Memphis Grizzlies – Nov. 22, at 8 p.m.;

·        Two Eastern Conference Finals rematches between the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers – Dec. 18, at 7 p.m. and Mar. 26, at 8 p.m.;

·        LeBron James returns to Cleveland – Miami Heat at Cleveland Cavaliers – Nov. 27, at 7:30 p.m.;

·        Kia NBA Countdown pre-game show 30 minutes prior to most ESPN games or doubleheaders.

2013-14 ABC NBA Schedule

Date Time Game
Wed, Dec. 25 2:30 p.m. Oklahoma City Thunder at New York Knicks
5 p.m. Miami Heat at Los Angeles Lakers
Sun, Jan. 26 1 p.m. San Antonio Spurs at Miami Heat
3:30 p.m. Los Angeles Lakers at New York Knicks
Sun, Feb. 9 1 p.m. New York Knicks at Oklahoma City Thunder
3:30 p.m. Chicago Bulls at Los Angeles Lakers
Sun, Feb. 23 1 p.m. Los Angeles Clippers at Oklahoma City Thunder
3:30 p.m. Chicago Bulls at Miami Heat
Sun, Mar. 2 1 p.m. New York Knicks at Chicago Bulls
Sun, Mar. 9 1 p.m. Miami Heat at Chicago Bulls
3:30 p.m. Oklahoma City Thunder at Los Angeles Lakers
Sun, Mar. 16 3:30 p.m. Houston Rockets at Miami Heat
Sun, Apr. 6 1 p.m. New York Knicks at Miami Heat
3:30 p.m. Los Angeles Lakers at Los Angeles Clippers
Sun, Apr. 13 1 p.m. Chicago Bulls at New York Knicks

 

2013-14 ESPN NBA Schedule

Date Time (ET) Game
Fri, Nov. 1 8 p.m. Miami Heat at Brooklyn Nets
10:30 p.m. San Antonio Spurs at Los Angeles Lakers
Wed, Nov. 6 7 p.m. Chicago Bulls at Indiana Pacers
9:30 p.m. Dallas Mavericks at Oklahoma City Thunder
Wed, Nov. 13 8 p.m. New York Knicks at Atlanta Hawks
10:30 p.m. Oklahoma City Thunder at Los Angeles Clippers
Fri, Nov. 15 8 p.m. Minnesota Timberwolves at Denver Nuggets
10:30 p.m. Detroit Pistons at Sacramento Kings
Wed, Nov. 20 7 p.m. Indiana Pacers at New York Knicks
9:30 p.m. Houston Rockets at Dallas Mavericks
Fri, Nov. 22 8 p.m. San Antonio Spurs at Memphis Grizzlies
10:30 p.m. Golden State Warriors at Los Angeles Lakers
Wed, Nov. 27 7:30 p.m. Miami Heat at Cleveland Cavaliers
Fri, Dec. 6 7:30 p.m. Denver Nuggets at Boston Celtics
Wed, Dec. 11 8 p.m. Chicago Bulls at New York Knicks
10:30 p.m. Dallas Mavericks at Golden State Warriors
Fri, Dec. 13 8 p.m. Los Angeles Lakers at Oklahoma City Thunder
10:30 p.m. Houston Rockets at Golden State Warriors
Wed, Dec. 18 7 p.m. Indiana Pacers at Miami Heat
9:30 p.m. Chicago Bulls at Houston Rockets
Fri, Dec. 20 8 p.m. Houston Rockets at Indiana Pacers
10:30 p.m. Minnesota Timberwolves at Los Angeles Lakers
Wed, Dec. 25 12 p.m. Chicago Bulls at Brooklyn Nets
8 p.m. Houston Rockets at San Antonio Spurs
10:30 p.m. Los Angeles Clippers at Golden State Warriors
Wed, Jan. 8 7 p.m. Dallas Mavericks at San Antonio Spurs
9:30 p.m. Los Angeles Lakers at Houston Rockets
Fri, Jan. 10 8 p.m. Miami Heat at Brooklyn Nets
10:30 p.m. Los Angeles Lakers at Los Angeles Clippers
Wed, Jan. 15 8 p.m. Utah Jazz at San Antonio Spurs
10:30 p.m. Denver Nuggets at Golden State Warriors
Fri, Jan. 17 7 p.m. Los Angeles Clippers at New York Knicks
9:30 p.m. Golden State Warriors at Oklahoma City Thunder
Mon, Jan. 20 2:30 p.m. Brooklyn Nets at New York Knicks
Wed, Jan. 22 7 p.m. Chicago Bulls at Cleveland Cavaliers
9:30 p.m. Oklahoma City Thunder at San Antonio Spurs
Fri, Jan. 24 8 p.m. Los Angeles Clippers at Chicago Bulls
Sun, Jan. 26 6:30 p.m. Brooklyn Nets at Boston Celtics
Wed, Jan. 29 7 p.m. Oklahoma City Thunder at Miami Heat
9:30 p.m. Chicago Bulls at San Antonio Spurs
Fri, Jan. 31 8 p.m. Oklahoma City Thunder at Brooklyn Nets
10:30 p.m. Golden State Warriors at Utah Jazz
Sat, Feb. 1 8:30 p.m. Miami Heat at New York Knicks
Wed, Feb. 5 8 p.m. Detroit Pistons at Orlando Magic
10:30 p.m. Miami Heat at Los Angeles Clippers
Fri, Feb. 7 7 p.m. Cleveland Cavaliers at Washington Wizards
9:30 p.m. Minnesota Timberwolves at New Orleans Pelicans
Wed, Feb. 19 8 p.m. Indiana Pacers at Minnesota Timberwolves
10:30 p.m. Houston Rockets at Los Angeles Lakers
Fri, Feb. 21 8 p.m. Denver Nuggets at Chicago Bulls
10:30 p.m. Boston Celtics at Los Angeles Lakers
Sun, Feb. 23 9 p.m. Brooklyn Nets at Los Angeles Lakers
Wed, Feb. 26 8 p.m. New Orleans Pelicans at Dallas Mavericks
10:30 p.m. Houston Rockets at Los Angeles Clippers
Fri, Feb. 28 8 p.m. Golden State Warriors at New York Knicks
10:30 p.m. New Orleans Pelicans at Phoenix Suns
Wed, Mar. 5 8 p.m. New York Knicks at Minnesota Timberwolves
10:30 p.m. Atlanta Hawks at Portland Trail Blazers
Fri, Mar. 7 7 p.m. Memphis Grizzlies at Chicago Bulls
9:30 p.m. Indiana Pacers at Houston Rockets
Wed, Mar. 12 7 p.m. Brooklyn Nets at Miami Heat
9:30 p.m. Portland Trail Blazers at San Antonio Spurs
Mon, Mar. 17 8 p.m. Oklahoma City Thunder at Chicago Bulls
10:30 p.m. Los Angeles Clippers at Denver Nuggets
Wed, Mar. 19 8 p.m. Indiana Pacers at New York Knicks
10:30 p.m. San Antonio Spurs at Los Angeles Lakers
Wed, Mar. 26 8 p.m. Miami Heat at Indiana Pacers
10:30 p.m. Memphis Grizzlies at Utah Jazz
Wed, Apr. 2 7 p.m. Brooklyn Nets at New York Knicks
Fri, Apr. 4 7 p.m. Denver Nuggets at Memphis Grizzlies
9:30 p.m. Oklahoma City Thunder at Houston Rockets
Wed, Apr. 9 8 p.m. Miami Heat at Memphis Grizzlies
10:30 p.m. Oklahoma City Thunder at Los Angeles Clippers
Wed, Apr. 16 8 p.m. Atlanta Hawks at Milwaukee Bucks
10:30 p.m. Golden State Warriors at Denver Nuggets

NBA on ESPN Radio

The NBA on ESPN Radio’s 27-game regular-season schedule is highlighted by an opening night Eastern Conference Semifinal rematch with Chicago at Miami at 8 p.m. and a Christmas Day doubleheader – Oklahoma City at New York at 2:30 p.m., followed by Miami at the Los Angeles Lakers at 5 p.m. The NBA on ESPN Radio will also broadcast the 2014 NBA All-Star Game and additional NBA All-Star events.

NBA on ESPN Deportes

ESPN Deportes will also provide Spanish-language coverage of the 2013-2014 NBA. The network will carry 24 games featuring teams such as Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, New York Knicks, Oklahoma City Thunders, and San Antonio Spurs.

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ABC’s Coverage of WNBA All-Star Game Saturday Focuses on Extensive In-game Access

espnwESPN3 & espnW.com to Provide Stream of Friday Practices

The Boost Mobile WNBA All-Star Game 2013 will showcase the league’s top players with several live-access elements throughout the ABC broadcast on Saturday, July 27, at 3:30 p.m. Ryan Ruocco will have the call of the game with analyst Rebecca Lobo and reporter Holly Rowe.

The 2013 event marks the third All-Star Game hosted by the Connecticut Sun at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., which also served as the home for the event in 2005 and 2009, as well as the “Stars at the Sun” matchup between league all-stars and Team USA in 2010.

ESPN3 – and via the ESPN3 player on espnW.com – will stream team practices on Friday, July 26, from 3-5 p.m. Coverage will include audio from microphones worn by the two All-Star head coaches. SportsCenter will provide live look-ins from the practices.

WNBA All-Star Game Highlights

In-game Access

ABC will have extensive access to the All-Star Game participants.

·         Live interviews with WNBA players and coaches before and after the game, as well as coming in and out of halftime

·         Rowe will have in-game access to both the Eastern and Western Conference benches, conducting interviews with players

·         Studio show anchor Randy Scott will have live access to players in the locker rooms during halftime

·         On-court camera access during the action, specifically free throws and dead ball situations

Ref Cam

The Ref Cam will appear during the WNBA All-Star Game, after a successful debut during the June 8 ABC broadcast of the Phoenix Mercury at Indiana Fever. Grabbing a unique perspective, the eye-level camera allows viewers to virtually be on the court as the referee’s first-person perspective is incorporated into the live broadcast in real time.

·         It is a wireless high definition, mini point of view camera paired with an HD mini transmitter

·         The fully remote system includes a vest, which will be worn underneath the official’s shirt, and contains the transmitter and batteries that provide the power and video

Live Microphones

·         A total of four players – one per half from each team

·         Head coaches of each team will also wear a live microphone

espnW

espnW will have in-depth coverage from the WNBA All-Star Game. Highlights:

·         Kate Fagan and Graham Hays will be reporting on site

·         Mechelle Voepel and Michelle Smith will provide midseason reports, which include team-by-team grades and picks for the WNBA midseason awards, including MVP

·         Lobo’s five things she’s looking forward to in Saturday’s All-Star Game

·         Live chat with espnW writers throughout the game

Chicago Sky guard/forward Elena Delle Donne led all players with 35,646 votes following final returns of the 2013 WNBA All-Star Balloting presented by Boost Mobile. Los Angeles Sparks forward Candace Parker topped the Western Conference and ranked second overall with 33,810 votes. Delle Donne, the No. 2 overall selection in the 2013 WNBA Draft presented by State Farm, is the first WNBA rookie ever to earn the top spot.

Eastern Conference Starters:                                            Western Conference Starters:

Cappie Pondexter, Guard (New York Liberty)                   Diana Taurasi, Guard (Phoenix Mercury)

Epiphanny Prince, Guard (Chicago Sky)                            Seimone Augustus, Guard (Minnesota Lynx)

Elena Delle Donne, Frontcourt (Chicago Sky)                  Candace Parker, Frontcourt (Los Angeles Sparks)

Tamika Catchings, Frontcourt (Indiana Fever)                  Maya Moore, Frontcourt (Minnesota Lynx)

Angel McCoughtry, Frontcourt (Atlanta Dream)                Brittney Griner, Frontcourt (Phoenix Mercury)

 

Eastern Conference Reserves:                                         Western Conference Reserves:

Tina Charles, Frontcourt (Connecticut Sun)                       Rebekkah Brunson, Frontcourt (Minnesota Lynx)

Sylvia Fowles, Frontcourt (Chicago Sky                        Glory Johnson, Frontcourt (Tulsa Shock)

Alison Hightower, Guard (Connecticut Sun)                      Nneka Ogwumike, Frontcourt (Los Angeles Sparks)

Crystal Langhorne, Frontcourt (Washington Mystics)     Danielle Robinson, Guard (San Antonio Silver Stars)

Ivory Latta, Guard (Washington Mystics)                       Kristi Toliver, Guard (Los Angeles Sparks)

Shavonte Zellous, Guard (Indiana Fever)                       Lindsay Whalen, Guard (Minnesota Lynx)

By virtue of winning their respective conference titles last season, Indiana head coach Lin Dunn will coach the Eastern Conference, and the Western Conference will be led by Minnesota’s Cheryl Reeve.

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