Airwaves: Celtics-Lakers series was one for the ages 

As we keep saying, the NBA finals between the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers was as good as it gets. Not only on the court, but also in the booth.

Although it has been mentioned here before, I really like Martinez native Jeff Van Gundy as an analyst. He gives outstanding insight in a very easy to understand delivery. In fact, while watching the games this week, he has helped Mark Jackson and Mike Breen be on top of their games. No matter what Breen says, Van Gundy has a comeback that is on target and to the point. It has also rubbed off on Jackson. He seemingly is peaking as a broadcaster and analyst at the right time.

Of course, one could argue that none of these men are the best broadcasters in the building because the guy on the Celtics bench, Doc Rivers, was an analyst for a few years and was quite good. Doc always spoke in terms of common sense, a similar approach that he has while coaching.

The Celtics are a good team, but all the accomplishments they have gathered this year are a direct result of the former broadcaster. Speaking of former broadcasters, how about Phil Jackson. After reading a very detailed article this week about Phil’s girlfriend, Lakers president Jeanie Buss, I learned Jackson at one time was an NBA analyst. According to her, Phil did not really enjoy it. He is not exactly a Dick Vitale when it comes to energy.

 

CONFERENCE SHUFFLE

I really wonder if the Pac-10 Conference powers that be feel badly about the fact Texas and Oklahoma will not be joining the conference. It was almost too good to be true. I usually try and remain grounded in situations where we all anticipate something big about to happen. But in this scenario, even I was fired up.

But reality set in. Although Nebraska and Colorado have departed the Big 12, the conference will remain, repair itself and move on. The best part of the additions of Utah and Colorado to the Pac-10 and Nebraska to the Big Ten will be the conferences can now have a football championship game like everyone else. I have been calling for this for years.

Another positive about the realignment is it should put a tighter lid on all the naysayers out there that keep clamoring about a playoff system. If the Pac-10 and Big Ten add a championship game, that is like having a national championship bracket. As recent history has taught us, it is very hard to have one or two undefeated teams standing at the end that can play for a legitimate national championship.

 

NBC brings spectacular Open to life

 

Although it concludes today, NBC has done a very good job so far on its U.S. Open broadcast. Johnny Miller, when he is “on” is very good. Dan Hicks, although understated, is solid. In fact, he and NBA announcer Mike Breen, are very similar in style, although in different sports. Roger Maltbie is the course reporter who gives insight when needed. I have always championed CBS golf producer Lance Barrow. He was one of the my first producers when I broke into television, and I thought, and still do think, he is fantastic as a person and a producer. However, Tommy Roy, who has the title of golf producer for NBC, needs to be recognized also. He is the man for the peacock network who will be pushing the buttons again today in the truck.
Guys like Barrow and Roy are the unsung heros in the TV world. Without them, there is no show.

 

NEW GIG

Phoenix Suns superstar Steve Nash made his TV broadcasting debut this week from the World Cup in South Africa. He was an on-the-scene reporter for “Good Morning Arizona.” He was OK, not great.

He did not seem as comfortable talking about soccer as obviously he would be talking hoops. Of course, who would be comfy talking about soccer? All it is, is a bunch of guys running around kicking a ball like we used to in gym class.

Now, that last comment will not sit well with some of our readers who cherish and worship the round ball used in soccer. But so be it, because there ain’t nothing like real football.

 

CONTROVERSY BREWING

Let me tell you how bad things are at soccer games. A couple of Dutch women were arrested at the World Cup for supposedly wearing outfits that were commercials for brewer Bavaria. You see, Anheuser-Busch is the official beer sponsor of the World Cup. I am so happy that the people of the soccer world have their priorities in order. I guess I can’t wear my Corona jacket to a Raiders or 49ers game anymore, because they are not official NFL sponsors. I hate soccer!

 

Who said it

 

Tiger Woods

“That’s none of your business,” snapped the world’s greatest golfer when asked at this week’s U.S. Open news conference if there was any resolution in his marital situation with his wife, Elin. You knew some scribe was going to ask that this week. It was just a matter of when, not if. Let the guy play golf.

  

Tom Izzo

“I am here for life. I’m going to be a lifer and I am damn proud of it,” declared the Michigan State hoops coach when he announced his decision this week to remain in East Lansing, Mich., and reject a big money offer from the Cleveland Cavaliers. Great move! This guy belongs on a college campus coaching college kids. Some coaches are pure college coaches and do not belong in the NBA. Izzo, who I think is fantastic, is one of them.

 

One to watch

Lost in the shuffle this week with the NBA finals, U.S. Open, baseball and World Cup is NASCAR. The Sprint Cup series makes its annual trip to Sonoma today for the Toyota-Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway. The road course always provides an interesting race with plenty of spills. TNT will carry the action beginning at noon.

 

Sports by numbers

 

Total players in the NFL

1,696

Father-son pairs that have played in the NFL

179

Current NFL players whose fathers have played in NFL

41

 

On Target

There’s something about Father’s Day that brings out the sportsman in all of us. As fathers, we for some reason get treated in a sports-minded way today. Whether someone buys a ticket to a ball game or you partake in some type of activity with your children, Father’s Day is sports to me. Mother’s Day is about flowers and a special dinner or brunch. All in all, happy Father’s Day to all the great dads out there. You come in all shapes, sizes and backgrounds, but there is a common bond. You love your kids and that is a good thing to have in common.

 

Artie Gigantino spent 25 years as a coach at the major-college and NFL levels, was lead college football analyst for Fox Sports Net for seven years, was with CBS for one year and was an executive with the Raiders for three years. E-mail him at agigantino@sfexaminer.com.

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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