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The NBA on ABC -- Then and Now
ABC Sports Online

NBA games will return to ABC on December 25th after 30 years with an exclusive Christmas Day doubleheader featuring the Boston Celtics taking on the New Jersey Nets (6 p.m. ET), followed by the Los Angeles Lakers matching up against the Sacramento Kings (8:30 p.m. ET).

Here's a quick look at the NBA, ABC and the world since ABC last broadcasted an NBA game.

World Events/Interests
  1972-73 NBA Season 2002-03 NBA season
U.S. President Richard M. Nixon George W. Bush
Vice President Spiro T. Agnew Dick Cheney
Median Household Income $9,697 per year $42,228 per year
Cost of U.S. Postage Stamp $.08 per stamp $.37 per stamp
Cost of Gasoline $.34 average/per gallon $1.46 average/per gallon
Sports Title IX is signed into action by U.S. Congress 30th Anniversary of Title IX is celebrated
International sports 1972 Olympic Massacre of Israeli Athletes by Arab terrorists; In same Olympic Games, U.S. is defeated by Russia in one of the most controversial basketball games ever. Media touts the game as "Cold War on the Court" Current NBA rosters feature players from 35 different countries, including seven players from the nations of the former USSR. In 1972 - No International players in the league. Tom Meschery of Russia (the eighth internationally born player ever to enter the league) retired in 1971
Technology Atari introduces first video game ever, "Pong" Interactive game industry is nearly a $20 billion industry. Almost 60% of the U.S. population use the Internet.
Television M*A*S*H makes its television debut Reality Series become newest trend on television
Pop culture The Godfather, The Exorcist and American Graffiti hit movie theaters Eminem, Britney Spears, Jennifer Lopez and Ice Cube hit the silver screen
Rolling Stones "Exile on Main Street" tops the pop charts Featured in NBA "Love it Live" TV spot
World Events Apollo XVII, the last manned moon landing, returns to Earth Scientists discover abundant amount of water on Mars

The NBA on ABC
  1972-73 NBA Season 2002-03 NBA season
ABC Sports President Roone Arledge Howard Katz (Was a production asst. for ABC Sports in 1973)
NBA Commisioner Larry O'Brien David J. Stern
Cameras 4 cameras:
  • one on each side center court
  • one under each basket on wheels
  • 21 cameras:
  • 7 Hard cameras
  • 3 Hand-Held cameras
  • 3 Hand-Held Super Slo-Mo
  • 2 "Above-the-Rim" Super Slo-Mo
  • 1 Digital "Steady-Cam"
  • 2 Periscope Robotic Cameras on the backboards
  • 1 "Free Flight" camera suspended on cables above the court
  • 2 "Floor Cams" which are actually under the playing surface
  • Playback machines 2 tape machines - 1" tape was used
  • One machine dedicated to one of the Center Court cameras
  • The other was switched between basket cameras- this developed backside replays (by accident)
  • 14 Digital replay machines
    Graphics 1 Chyron graphics machine 2 digital graphics machines (Chyron duet and Chyron infinite)
    Technology Analog 24-second clock on the floor Transducer microphones set under the floor and on the backboards
    Production/Tech Crew 1 Producer; 1 Director; 1 Associate Director; 1 Production Asst; 1 Statistician/Spotter; 1 tech director; 4 Cameramen; 2 tape operators; 1 audio rep Crew consists of 50-60 technical and production personnel
    On-air Talent Keith Jackson; Chris Schenkel; Bill Russell Brad Nessler; Bill Walton; Mike Tirico; Tom Tolbert; Brent Musburger; Sean Elliot
    ABC Sports' lineup
  • NBA Regular Season and Playoff games
  • NBA All-Star Game
  • NBA Finals (NY/LA)
  • Wide World of Sports
  • American Sportsman
  • British Open
  • U.S. Open Golf
  • Indianapolis 500
  • Little League World Series
  • Monday Night Football (3rd season)
  • Superstars
  • Tennis: Billie Jean King vs. Bobby Riggs
  • College Football
  • U.S. Figure Skating Championships
  • World Figure Skating Championships
  • Boxing featuring Muhammed Ali
  • Professional Bowlers Tour
  • PGA TOUR
  • 1972 Olympic Games
  • NBA Regular Season and Playoff games
  • NBA Finals
  • Monday Night Football (33rd Season)

  • Super Bowl XXXVII
  • NHL Regular Season and Playoffs
  • Stanley Cup Finals
  • British Open
  • Indianapolis 500
  • Little League World Series
  • College Football Regular Season
  • BCS Bowl Games including BCS Championship Game
  • U.S. Figure Skating Championships
  • World Figure Skating Championships
  • PGA TOUR
  • NCAA Basketball
  • X-Games
  • Additional Facts
      1972-73 NBA Season 2002-03 NBA season
    Shaquille O'Neal Is born March 6, 1972 Is one of the NBA's most dominant players and is featured in the NBA Christmas Day doubleheader on ABC
    The NBA 17 teams 29 teams
    NBA champion The N.Y. Knicks defeat the L.A. Lakers to become 1973 NBA champions The L.A. Lakers are the reigning NBA champions, defeating the New Jersey Nets in the 2002 NBA Finals
    Phil Jackson Plays for the New York Knicks Is head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers and is looking to lead the Lakers to their fourth consecutive NBA title
    International players 0: Tom Meschery of Russia (the eighth internationally born player ever to enter the league) retired in 1971 67: From 35 countries and territories
    Television NBA games were televised only in the United States NBA games and programming are televised in a record 212 countries in 42 languages by 148 telecasters
    Bill Walton Wins the NCAA tournament with UCLA in 1972 and 1973 and is selected as the NCAA's College Player of the Year in 1972, 73 and 74. Is ABC's lead NBA analyst and will call the historic NBA Christmas Day doubleheader on ABC


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    ABC's 2002-2003 NBA schedule