As stated on Monday in their announcement of CJ McCollum’s hiring, ESPN will have an alternate broadcast during Game 1 of the NBA Finals. On Tuesday, the company announced plans for that alternate broadcast.
The ESPN2 broadcast will be called NBA Finals: Celebrating 75, and will focus on NBA history. McCollum will be on the broadcast, along with host Michael Eaves, Tim Legler, Magic Johnson, Julius Erving, and other unannounced guests.
Here’s the blurb from ESPN’s release.
ESPN2 will televise NBA Finals: Celebrating 75, a special alternate presentation for NBA Finals Game 1 on Thursday, June 2, at 9 p.m. The telecast, hosted by Michael Eaves, will emanate from ESPN’s Seaport District Studios in New York, N.Y. and will include special commentary, graphics, packages and footage of the NBA’s rich 75-year history. New ESPN NBA analyst CJ McCollum will make his debut alongside veteran analyst Tim Legler. The team will provide insights on Game 1 and reflections on the NBA’s 75-year history. The trio will be joined by several special guests, including Naismith Basketball Hall of Famers Earvin “Magic” Johnson and Julius “Dr. J” Erving. NBA Finals: Celebrating 75 will also include content from ESPN Marketing’s NBA Finals Game 1 Watch Party, taking place atop the Seaport District Studios that night.
As for why ESPN2 and not ESPN, the main network will be airing the Women’s College World Series for most of Thursday. All of the NBA Finals games will be airing on ABC, as is standard.
Personally, I’m just thankful that ESPN isn’t labeling this as the “AnniversaryCast.” This will clearly be a different broadcast that won’t appeal to all fans, but if no live events were going to be airing on ESPN2 at the same time, why not?
Our full broadcast primer for the NBA Finals will be posted tomorrow.