The NBA Finals Begin Thursday on ABC

The NBA Finals Begin Thursday on ABC
SportsCenter NBA Finals Special – 1987 Celtics/Lakers – Tuesday on ESPN

The 2008 NBA Finals, featuring the Los Angeles Lakers and Kobe Bryant and the Boston Celtics and Kevin Garnett, will tip off on Thursday, June 5, at 9 p.m. ET on ABC, ABC HD, ESPN Radio and ESPN International. ESPN’s multi-platform presentation of The Finals will include coverage across ABC, ABC HD, ESPN, ESPN HD,  ESPN The Magazine and ESPN Mobile Properties.

ABC’s primetime lineup will include:

A special 30-minute edition of The Jimmy Kimmel Show (airing at 8 p.m. ET; 7 p.m. CT; post-game on the west coast).
The GMC NBA Countdown pre-game show at 8:30 p.m.
The Finals game presentation at 9 p.m.

Each ABC broadcast of the best-of-seven NBA Finals will be called by Mike Breen with analysts Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy and reporter Michele Tafoya. Stuart Scott will host the pre-game show, originating from the site of each game, with analysts Jon Barry and Michael Wilbon. Mike Tirico will describe the games on ESPN Radio with analyst Hubie Brown and reporter Ric Bucher. Marc Kestecher will be the ESPN Radio on-site studio host with analyst Will Perdue. Alvaro Martin and Carlos Morales will provide Spanish-language SAP commentary for ABC.

“This broadcast team of Mike Breen, Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy are a tremendous listen,” said Norby Williamson, ESPN executive vice president, production, during today’s media conference call. “When you talk about insight into the game from a player’s perspective, from a coach’s perspective, looking ahead to what is going to happen – strategy, who’s on the floor, humor – we are very fortunate and comfortable with this team and we are going to have a great presentation.”

All broadcasts of The Finals on ABC will include the following production elements:

The Emmy Award-winning “Hall of Fame” opening segment (click here to preview);
In-game interviews with coaches, along with each coach being wired for sound;
Pre-game and halftime locker room access;
32 high definition video sources (all cameras, up from 16 during the regular season);
“SkyCam” providing aerial views of the action;
“Player Track,” an on-screen graphic used during select replays to emphasize player movement during a particular play;
“Ultra Mo,” a replay device recapping action at 250 frames per second.

The Finals on ABC Schedule (Best of 7)
*** All Game Broadcasts at 9 p.m. ET ***

Date Game Networks
Thu., June 5 Game 1: L.A. Lakers at Boston ABC, ABC HD, ESPN Radio
Sun., June 8 Game 2: L.A. Lakers at Boston ABC, ABC HD, ESPN Radio
Tues, June 10 Game 3: Boston at L.A. Lakers ABC, ABC HD, ESPN Radio
Thu., June 12 Game 4: Boston at L.A. Lakers ABC, ABC HD, ESPN Radio
Sun., June 15 Game 5: Boston at L.A. Lakers* ABC, ABC HD, ESPN Radio
Tue., June 17 Game 6: L.A. Lakers at Boston* ABC, ABC HD, ESPN Radio
Thu., June 19 Game 7: L.A. Lakers at Boston* ABC, ABC HD, ESPN Radio
* if necessary

Additional Finals Content:

SportsCenter NBA Finals Special Tuesday on ESPN
ESPN will televise a three-hour primetime SportsCenter NBA Finals Special devoted to Game 6 of the 1987 NBA Finals – the last time the Celtics and Lakers met in The Finals – Tuesday, June 3, at 7 p.m. The Lakers defeated the Celtics, with Magic Johnson earning MVP honors. The telecast will include game footage, interviews with participants, and a look ahead at the 2008 NBA Finals.

NBA Finals Watermark on ABC
ABC will continue to insert a transparent NBA Finals watermark during all national daytime and primetime programming through the start of Game 1 on Thursday, June 5.

SportsCenter & Studio Programming
ESPN’s SportsCenter will provide news and information, analysis, and highlights throughout The Finals. Host Stuart Scott and analysts Jon Barry and Mike Wilbon will provide post-game segments, while ESPN Radio play-by-play commentator Mike Tirico will host the 6 p.m. edition’s NBA segments on game nights. Stephen A. Smith, along with Jamal Mashburn (Games 1 and 2), Jalen Rose (Games 3, 4 and 5), and Tim Legler (Games 6 and 7, if nec.) will provide on-site analysis. Shelley Smith will present reports on the Lakers, while Rachel Nichols will cover the Celtics throughout The Finals. The 6 p.m. SportsCenter will expand to 2.5 hours (6-8:30 p.m.) on Thursday, June 5 and Tuesday, June 10, with the final hours of each show focusing on The Finals opening games in Boston and Los Angeles.

Additionally, ESPN’s NBA Finals post-game shows, NBA Access with Ahmad Rashad and NBA Matchup, along with Pardon the Interruption, Around the Horn and ESPN2’s First Take will also feature NBA Finals content.

ESPNEWS will provide live pre- and post-game news conferences, along with daily news and information.
Coverage will include:

NBA Finals series page;
Gamecast live scoring during each game;
Live audio streaming of NBA Finals games via;
Special, daily NBA Finals editions of Daily Dime and Daily Dime TV;
TrueHoop’s Henry Abbott blogging live from The Finals;
Live, multi-hour SportsNation chats leading up to and through each game, featuring a bevy of ESPN NBA personalities, experts and current and former players. Chats will run from 3 p.m. through the end of the game on weekdays and 7:30 p.m. through the end of the game on Sundays;
Reporting and analysis from Marc Stein, J.A. Adande, Chris Sheridan, John Hollinger, Scoop Jackson, David Thorpe and Henry Abbott plus contributions from Bill Simmons, Stephen A. Smith, Ric Bucher, LZ Granderson, Chris Broussard and Jemele Hill;
Content collaboration with;
In-depth scouting reports for each game;
SportsNation polling, quizzes, rankings, etc.;
Ranking of NBA Finals MVPs since the merger by’s John Hollinger;
Analysis by Dr. Jack Ramsay;
All Finals games – conversation pages, game preview/recap, play-by-play, live box score, in-depth stat packages, photo gallery, shot chart, AccuScore game projections, injury reports, depth charts, playoff player rankings, player cards, expert predictions, research and statistical services from the Elias Sports Bureau, featured fan comments and fans conversation pages.

ESPN Radio
In addition to game coverage, ESPN Radio’s Mike Tirico Show will be live from The Finals for Games 1 and 3. Additional NBA Finals coverage will include discussion across ESPN Radio’s daily talk shows (i.e. Mike and Mike in the Morning, The Herd, etc.).

ESPN International
ESPN International will broadcast The Finals via ESPN Pacific Rim (Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Islands), ESPN Latin Brazil (Brazil) and ESPN Atlantic (Sub-Saharan Africa including South Africa). ESPN Latin Brazil’s coverage will include commentary by Wlamir Marques, who won a world championship with the Brazilian national team in 1959 and 1963, and Eduardo Agra, who played in the 1984 Olympic Games.

ESPN Deportes
Alvaro Martin and Carlos Morales will provide NBA Finals updates on ESPN’s Spanish-language edition of SportsCenter (aired in the U.S. and Latin America), ESPN Deportes Radio – the only 24/7 Spanish-language radio network in the country – and

ESPN Classic
ESPN Classic will televise an NBA Finals marathon Monday, June 2, through Wednesday, June 4, from 2-7 p.m. each day.

ESPN Mobile Properties
ESPN MVP will offer one-touch access through its sideline application to breaking news, game analysis and features. ESPN Mobile Web will continue to provide live coverage of the NBA with news and analysis. will offer replays of each Finals game, which will be available starting at 2:30 a.m. each night through 12 p.m. the following afternoon.

ESPN The Magazine
ESPN The Magazine’s second annual “Revenge of the Jocks” issue (hitting newsstands June 4) will feature a Baron Davis interview with Kobe Bryant, Tony Parker and Chauncey Billups to find out what it takes to win the NBA Finals.