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Michael Wilbon Apologizes To Isiah Thomas

“We might not know which players didn’t want Isiah to join them in Barcelona, but we also haven’t heard many guys step up and say they did want him on the team.”

Brandon Contes

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As much as The Last Dance might teach us things we never knew about the NBA and the ‘90s Chicago Bulls, there will be some questions that remain unanswered. One being, why wasn’t Isiah Thomas on the 1992 U.S. Olympic men’s basketball Dream Team? After attempting to answer the question, ESPN’s Michael Wilbon issued an apology to Isiah Monday night.

For decades, Isiah’s absence from the Dream Team was attributed to his poor relationship with Michael Jordan. But during The Last Dance, Jordan denied it was his decision, without denying that he didn’t want Isiah on the team.

“You want to attribute it to me, go ahead and be my guest,” Jordan said. “But it wasn’t me.”

Jordan did say that adding Isiah would have changed the feel of the team.

“The Dream Team, based on the environment and the camaraderie that happened on that team, it was the best harmony,” Jordan added. “Would Isiah have made a different feeling on that team? Yes.”

During the documentary, Wilbon didn’t solely blame Jordan for the decision, instead crediting a group of players for keeping Isiah off the Dream Team. Wilbon said it was half the team that didn’t want to play with the Pistons point guard, specifically calling out Magic Johnson, Scottie Pippen and Larry Bird.  

Magic didn’t want all of the blame, but did add “there was four or five guys who just had problems with him,” meaning Isiah.

During an appearance with Rachel Nichols on The Jump Monday afternoon, Wilbon furthered the point by saying it was more like nine of the 12 players that didn’t want to spend their summer in Barcelona with Isiah.

“I’m gonna say nine of those guys just were not in favor of hanging out with Isiah Thomas at that time, and that’s what that summer was [Rachel], it was a big hangout. It was like summer camp,” Wilbon explained. “They knew who they wanted to spend the summer with, and they knew who they didn’t want to spend the summer with. 

“Hanging that on Michael Jordan is just inaccurate … That group of people, I’m going to say nine out of 12, they made it known to whomever that this wasn’t somebody they wanted in their summer camp.”

Hours later, Wilbon said he was “dead wrong” and went on Twitter to apologize to Isiah for stating nine players didn’t want him on the Dream Team.

Shortly after Wilbon’s tweet, Isiah accepted Wilbon’s apology, with a simple “thank you.”

Some have argued the reason the Hall-of-Fame point guard wasn’t selected to the team was due to being past his prime. But when the Dream Team roster was selected, the 30-year old Isiah was still averaging 37 effective minutes per game, and players like Johnson and Bird were selected for the team despite CLEARLY being past their respective primes. We might not know which players didn’t want Isiah to join them in Barcelona, but we also haven’t heard many guys step up and say they did want him on the team.

Sports TV News

ABC Scores Most Watched NBA Saturday Primetime Game In 4 Years

“The game drew 3.7 million viewers.”

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The Boston Celtics beat the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday night. While the game’s controversial finish left LeBron James and Patrick Beverly upset, executives at the Walt Disney Company had nothing but smiles thanks to the performance of ABC.

The game drew 3.7 million viewers. That means the Celtics’ win is the most-watched game in the ABC Saturday night prime-time window in the last four years. A February 2019 game between the Lakers and Golden State Warriors drew 4.1 million.

Boston also delivered the highest-rated game of the NBA season so far outside of the league’s stacked Christmas Day slate.

NBA Saturday Primetime on ABC is experiencing a nice uptick in viewership this season. Through the weekend, the Saturday night games are averaging over 3.4 million viewers according to an ESPN press release.

That number represents a 16% jump from last season. The edition of NBA Countdown that airs before the Saturday night game is having a good season as well. It’s average audience is up 3% to just under 1.5 million.

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Sports TV News

NHL Ratings on ESPN, TNT Down in 2nd Year

So far this season, games on ESPN and TNT are averaging 373,000 viewers, which is down from 478,000 last season.

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Viewership totals from ESPN and TNT show NHL ratings have declined heading into the All-Star break, but there are some extenuating circumstances for the nearly 22% drop.

So far this season, games on ESPN and TNT are averaging 373,000 viewers, which is down from 478,000 last season. However, both channels have increased their linear television schedule, doubling from 27 games to 54.

ESPN has aired 18 games with an average of 402,000 viewers. In the same time period last year, the worldwide leader had only aired seven contests, but garnered 622,000 per game. None of ESPN’s games last season had aired on weekends, while the network has broadcast six games on Sunday this year alone. The 12 games ESPN has aired that weren’t on Sunday have averaged 491,000 viewers.

The 2023 NHL All-Star Game will air on ABC Saturday, and the network is hoping for a lift from last season. In 2022, ratings fell 38% from the previous All-Star Game on NBC, and hit the lowest total since 2009. The NHL Skills challenge saw its largest audience in a decade after airing on ESPN in primetime on a Friday evening. Nearly 1.1 million watched the skills challenge, a 30% increase compared to 2020.

At this time last season, TNT had aired 20 games. Through 36 games this season, the network has seen an average of 359,000 viewers. The network is helped by the 2023 Winter Classic, which took place at Fenway Park on Monday, January 2nd. The afternoon contest saw an audience of 1.78 million, up 31% compared to the previous year.

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Sports TV News

AFC Championship Game Delivers New Viewership High For CBS

53.1 million viewers tuned in to see the Chiefs victory over the Bengals, making it the most-watched television program since Super Bowl LVI.

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The AFC Championship Game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Cincinnati Bengals drew a massive audience for CBS.

53.1 million viewers tuned in to see the Chiefs’ controversial victory over the Bengals, making it the most-watched television program since Super Bowl LVI. Additionally, the event is the most-watched NFL Conference Championship Game since 2017.

CBS claims the game peaked with 59.3 million viewers and was also the most-streamed live sporting event in the history of Paramount+.

With an audience of 53.1 million, CBS concludes its NFL playoff coverage averaging 40.798 million viewers for each game. That leads all networks thus far. The 2022 NFL season was the most-watched regular season on CBS in the past seven seasons.

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