No one will admit it, of course, but the NBA and ABC are really, really hating the Orlando Magic right now.
Any hopes that the league and network have for a high-rated NBA Finals rest largely on a Lakers-Cleveland/Kobe Bryant-LeBron James showdown. Can you imagine the sound of air whishing out of the ball if the faceoff ends up being between Orlando — which has taken a 3-1 lead over Cleveland in their series — and Denver, which is currently tied 2-2 with the Lakers?
Granted, the best cure for ratings, even with a non-marquee matchup, is a close, seven-game series. And this year’s playoffs have been inordinately entertaining (see the earlier Boston-Chicago series), which has boosted tune-in for ESPN and TNT.
Still, it’s pretty obvious that the NBA has been salivating for LeBron-Kobe, along with all those sponsors pushing the two all-stars. If Orlando (a humid hell-hole in June, by the way) spoils those plans, then the home of Disney World will absolutely not be the happiest place on earth for ABC.