Media Rumors

The NBA on TNT crew spent time joking around about the latest Google glitch that listed Shaquille O’Neal as a member *NSYNC before Game 4 of the Western Conference finals on Tuesday night. TNT showed reaction tweets from the real members of the boy band. Then, Ernie Johnson asked Shaq if he had anything to do with the glitch, and Shaq’s response had Ernie, Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith impressed. “When they were young, they recorded their first album at my house, at the studio at my house — *NSYNC and Backstreet Boys,” Shaq said. “True story.”
Even with the blowouts, TNT is posting some impressive ratings. Through three games, the cable network’s telecasts of the Western Conference Finals have averaged eight million viewers. That’s up 30 percent from TNT’s coverage of last year’s Eastern Conference Finals (Cavaliers-Celtics), and an 18 percent boost over the 2017 Western Finals (Warriors-Spurs). Sunday’s game was the weekend’s top-rated sports program across all of television — broadcast and cable. The solid ratings, claims Albert, are testament to the NBA’s ever-growing popularity. “It’s probably the greatest it’s ever been,” says the Hall of Fame broadcaster who has been associated with the NBA for nearly 50 years. “For me, it really started with the Dream Team at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. Those guys were mobbed everywhere they went. They were like the Beatles. Now, you’re seeing the European influx (of players). The game is probably more global than any other sport. … And the league is filled with recognizable stars. Look at how many NBA players show up in TV commercials these days. You don’t see all that many baseball players in the commercials.”