The LeBron Show in Game 2 of the NBA Finals was impressive – 35 points on 14-of-22 shooting, 10 rebounds, a crucial 4th quarter assist – but even moreso was that Heat 98, Spurs 96 was a TV triumph: an 8.9 rating and 15 million viewers going up against the Tony Awards and HBO’s Game of Thrones. Oh, and Miss USA was also on! Miss Nevada won, and perhaps because of her, the TV rating for that wasn’t bad.
Ratings for this year’s series are slightly ahead of last year’s Finals, which went seven games and averaged a 10.4, good for second best in the last nine years (the 2010 Finals between the Lakers and Celtics averaged a 10.6).
While LeBron will eventually surpass Michael Jordan as the greatest player in NBA history, the one area he definitely won’t catch Jordan is in TV ratings. Jordan’s 1998 Finals appearance – the last of his career – averaged an 18.7, a number that simply isn’t attainable for the NBA in the current TV era. The Game Six “Flu Game” pulled in a ridiculous 22.3. This is LeBron’s fourth straight trip to the Finals, and the best rating he’s drawn for one game is a 15.7 (Game Seven, 2013).
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