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Monday, May 30th, 2011 at 6:12 pm  |  30 responses

LeBron James Reigniting NBA Viewership

by Sam Riches / @sam_riches

Almost 11 months ago, LeBron James made ‘The Decision‘. Almost instantaneously, the fans began to make theirs. Some applauded his tenacity, his courage to make a choice based on his own desires and ambitions. But others felt a sting of betrayal and animosity. The man with the vision of Magic, the athleticism of Dr. J and the versatility of Oscar Robertson had performed his final physical feat for the fans of Cleveland.

A swift kick to the gut.

But his move to Miami brought with it a surge of attention. Attention that is now helping the NBA reach historic heights of popularity. From ESPN:

“With LeBron and the Heat in the championship series, the NBA Finals has a chance to be the highest-rated and most-viewed Finals since the Orlando-Houston series in 1995 or even the Bulls-Portland series, Jordan’s second Finals, in 1992. LeBron — at least temporarily, and probably for the next few years — has done for interest in the NBA what Tiger Woods did for interest in professional golf. LeBron and the Heat have become the tide that floats all boats.

Asked the other night in Chicago about LeBron’s impact on the season, teammate Dwyane Wade said: ‘Once everybody gets over being mad, angry, whatever they are, they have to admit that it’s remarkable how many people took an interest in our team, in the league, in professional basketball beginning that night [July 8]. People who never watched the NBA to that point became interested. And I think we know that now. People who never even watched professional sports became interested in our product. It’s much bigger than us now; look at the interest in the entire league.’

On the eve of the NBA Finals, the dust has settled and LeBron has risen. Reaching the point many predicted he would, despite their afflictions.

The stage is set and it is now up to James, Wade, Bosh and Co. to complete the last step of their journey, or in their case — the last of their meals. Whether or not the Heat are able to capture the Larry O’Brien trophy, their success has already shifted the landscape of the NBA in a new direction.

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  • http://slamonline Brion

    First?

  • robb

    I thought his name was Labron?

  • MikeC.

    The NBA is a better place when there are villains. This is highlighting who is all buddy-buddy in the league, and who wants to win more than anything else.

  • Eddie1

    Just imagine if it were Lakers vs. Heat. Ish David Stern would be rolling the dough. Should’ve just forced his hand and have Dallas get effed in the A.

  • Eddie1

    I mean Kobe vs. Lebron. Is it an new Era? So on and so on. Ratings would be huge. I don’t think the ratings for this ish will be as high as last year.

  • fruizm

    @Eddie1….I agree. I think only the ones who really follow the NBA know that this series will be great, but most people that dont really follow the NBA wont even pay attention because they probably cant even name a player from the Mavs. At least in Mexico, thats whats gonna happen. Actually, the only way people in Mexico would pay attention was if Jordan made another comeback haha.

  • S_kemp

    ratings are huge .everyone wants to see Lebron get his ass beat…(not gonna happen)

  • http://Slamonline.com Hossy

    Eddie why would the illuminati want Dallas to win? To pacify the gun owners in Texas! They are way more likely to cap bilderbergers if the mavs lost in the first round again

  • JTaylor21

    But….I thought Bron/Wade/Bosh teaming up was bad for the L.

  • alphabetaherculis

    Can you imagine if Spurs were in this final? Damn, it would be boring as hell. Good thing we got Heat for all the explosive plays and dunks.

  • robb

    @S_kemp actually it IS gonna happen.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    The NBA probably came up with the idea for “The Decision” in the first place.
    Also, it wouldn’t surprise me if it turned out Vince McMahon is David Stern’s second-cousin.

  • Zoom

    @Eddie1 Dude don’t even talk about Kobe he’s done !

  • http://www.triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    David Stern wanted the mavs and heat rematch….
    he’s booked the lakers and miami finals for next year… as part of the player/union contract agreements.

  • r2j

    And LeBron’s Decision will be the 1 of the main reasons why the NBA will have a lockout next year. Title or not.

  • http://www.nba.com K Dub

    Yall we do gotta give it to LeBron i hate him to just like yall but Ever since he lost to boston and left for miami he has boosted this nba season and ratings the nba is more popular than ever now and LeBron and all his hype and fame caused it

  • Eddie1

    I’ll make a deal. If the illuminati let Lebron win, then I will no longer talk about them. DEAL UP.

  • http://slamonline.com everthing

    @Eddie let me get this straight, you’re predicting the Mavs to win right? And if Heat wins, you’ll no longer mention the illuminati?

  • http://Slamonline.com Hossy

    Why would you no longer talk about them? That’s what THEY want

  • hoodsnake

    Eddie1 you are breaking the illuminati down with your talk! Please stop!

  • http://www.nbadimensions.net/forums Jack Winchcomb

    Another day, another ESPN article riding LeBron raw…

  • http://slamonline.com Tae

    @Zoom ummm how is Kobe done?

  • SikhWitIt

    Higher ratings don’t equate to great basketball; let’s be clear about that.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    Yet another reason I ask… WTF are the owners complaining about?!

  • http://fkjslf.com Jukai

    Teddy: C’mon bro, this is one team. Not a smart comment.

  • Mack

    LeBron has made the playoffs his stage for proving all haters wrong, and it’s hard not to cheer for him at this point… But the Mavs are my team :D so I’m calling the Mavs winning in 6

  • Ovachicken

    Good call. But this is a world where good guys finish last. MIAMI in 5 . I’m da n!##a You love to hate !!!

  • Ronald

    ^no dude, youre the dude no one gives a sh!t about.

  • KoBynum716

    Co-sign SikhWitIt

  • OvaChicken

    Ronald – Back up off my tip then coz you on it like a nad on a dogs D..k !! Like i give a ish. I’m just here to say my part & keep cats like you irritated…DUUDE !! & @Sikhwitit This is the finals it’s not about great basketball but what it takes to win. Sometimes it has to be ugly especially when we know D wins Rings. Remember the bad boys ? Remember N.Y. in the 90′s ? Now Dallas play great offensive team basketball but their D is suspect & that’s p#$$y 2 me. Last nites game wasn’t pretty but i like the way Dirk(the next Larry Bird – PLEEEASE) & J. Terry(The Jet ? – There was only 1 Jet – Kenny you my man!) got shut down. Grit & Grime baby , grit & grime. Go Miami ! King James Version !

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