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Albert Will Have Leading Role

June 07, 2002|LARRY STEWART

It will be announced next week that Marv Albert will be TNT's lead NBA play-by-play announcer next season, probably paired with Mike Fratello. Albert will work one of TNT's Thursday night doubleheader games each week, plus the All-Star game and the playoffs, including the Western Conference finals.

The conference finals will all be on cable next season, when the NBA's new TV contract kicks in.

Albert on Thursday said he couldn't offer any details about his new deal but said he was thrilled with the prospect of remaining in the Turner family.

Bill Walton is likely headed for ABC-ESPN and is expected to be paired with Brad Nessler or Brent Musburger on the No. 1 NBA announcing team.

Snapper Returns

Steve "Snapper" Jones will rejoin Albert and Walton for Game 2 of the NBA Finals after missing Game 1 because of his daughter's high school graduation.

As for Jones' future status, he said, "When we finish the season, we'll go from there. It's week to week."

Said Walton: "My contract is word to word."

Retorted Bob Costas: "You must be the wealthiest guy this side of Bill Gates."

Amazing Weekend

Just think what's on tab this weekend. The NBA Finals, War Emblem going for a Triple Crown in Saturday's Belmont Stakes, the finals of the French Open, and the Senior PGA Championship--all on NBC, plus World Cup soccer, the Stanley Cup finals, the Buick Classic, the LPGA McDonald's Championship, interleague baseball and more.

Oh yes, there's also that pay-per-view fight in Memphis, Tenn., between Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis.

In case anyone is interested, the $54.95 telecast, a joint production between HBO and Showtime, is available in 50 million homes in the U.S., plus another 500 million in 130 other countries.

HBO's Jim Lampley and Showtime's Bobby Czyz will call the fight. HBO's James Brown is the host, Showtime's Jim Gray the reporter.

This will be a particularly busy weekend for Gray, who will stop off in Memphis after working tonight's Game 2 of the NBA Finals for NBC and then head on to New Jersey for Game 3 Sunday.

Of the fight, Gray said: "You would have to say that on either fighter's best day, Mike Tyson is the better fighter. However, we have not seen Mike Tyson's best day for almost a decade."

A Great Moment

Tom Hammond, the host of NBC's coverage of the Belmont, said, "This is the ultimate for thoroughbred racing. It's maybe one of the most exciting moments that a sports fan can experience.

"I know the last Triple Crown in 1978 when Affirmed beat Alydar may be the greatest race of all time; certainly the greatest one I've seen. The anticipation leading up to the race and then the moment when they turn for home will be something special."

ESPY Nominations

Phil Jackson may not have received any votes for NBA coach of the year, but when the ESPY nominations were announced in Hollywood this week, Jackson was the only coach from the NBA in the coach of the year category.

And Shaquille O'Neal was the only NBA player in the best male athlete category.

The ESPY Awards will be televised live from the new Kodak Theater in Hollywood on July 10.

Another Sports Channel

Plans have been in the works for some time now to launch the Tennis Channel--the channel has already lined up seven women's tournaments--and now comes word of a College Sports Network, expected to go on the air sometime early next year.

The channel is the brainchild of Brian Bedol and Steve Greenberg, co-founders of the Classic Sports Network, which is now ESPN Classic. Their new channel will focus on the more minor college sports.

Eye Trouble

ESPN's Stuart Scott is back to work and covering the NBA Finals but says he is facing more eye surgery because of an injury suffered April 3 while working out with the New York Jets.

Scott, a high school football star, was preparing to do a three-part series on what it's like to go through a mini-camp when he was hit in his left eye by a football thrown by a high-powered pass-throwing machine. It split the cornea and lens. What was particularly scary was that Scott suffered a detached retina in his right eye in 1989 after getting hit with a basketball.

"I was using only my left eye," he said before Game 1 Wednesday. Since the mishap, he has had to use his right.

He said he now sees well enough out of his left eye to read a teleprompter, but his vision in that eye is not what it used to be. That's why he's facing more surgery.

Short Waves

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