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NBC'S NBA RATINGS UP; SHAQ'S TRASH TALK HEARD OVER THE AIR
Published February 24, 1998
NBC's NBA coverage is averaging a 5.9 rating/14 share after 11 weeks of coverage of games played through Sunday, February 15. That rating is up 5% from the '96-97 season, which averaged a 5.6 through the first 11 weeks. On Sunday, the Rockets-Knicks early game earned a 4.2/11 overnight, while the Lakers-Magic earned a 5.4/12 (THE DAILY). NO LOVE LOST: Sunday's Lakers-Magic game marked Shaquille O'Neal's first game in Orlando since signing with the Lakers. During the player introductions, O'Neal was seen and heard saying, "Shut the f--- up" to the crowd -- more than once -- as they booed his introduction (THE DAILY). USA TODAY's Michael Hiestand wrote that NBC rookie analyst Isiah Thomas "had his best game so far" during the Lakers-Magic game (USA TODAY, 2/23). An editorial in the ORLANDO SENTINEL said the game was "more about beating L.A. It was even about more than settling an old score with Shaquille O'Neal. It was about community pride and spirit. It was about believing in Magic" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 2/24).