"The main similarity is the defensive versatility," says Kerr, who'll call TNT's Eastern Conference finals between the Bulls and Heat. "And the star power is similar. But with all the media now — sports talk, Twitter, the Internet — there's constant attention we never had. Every word LeBron James says is dissected. Years ago, you got some breathers. Although maybe Michael wouldn't agree with that." (And given today's media spotlight, Kerr thinks James was wise to "apologize" for the way his move to Miami was presented, starting with the ESPN special: "Everybody was waiting for him to do that. For him to apologize was awesome."
Agreeing with Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers' point in saying the Heat had a postseason advantage after facing scrutiny all season, Kerr recalls "every game felt like a playoff game for us no matter where you went. Arenas were electric. For some teams, the playoffs seem different. Not for us."
But in terms of offense, "the teams don't remind me of each other at all." While ESPN/ABC analyst Jeff Van Gundy had predicted the Heat this season would break the 1995-96 Bulls' 72-win NBA record, Kerr says the timing wasn't right: "The Heat aren't as good as they're going to be as they add pieces. Maybe it's better to compare this Heat team to the Bulls of 1990, when they were on the way up."
So how would Kerr's Bulls teams match up against today's Heat? "That's the first time I've been asked. It's a question I'd rather not answer. I'm biased. And I don't want to sound like an old bitter guy."
Prime-time baseball: In the first of three consecutive Saturdays of prime-time baseball, Fox's regionalized coverage (7 p.m. ET) will feature Boston Red Sox-New York Yankees in 71% of the USA, along with San Francisco Giants-Chicago Cubs (20%) and Arizona Diamondbacks-Los Angeles Dodgers (9%). Last year, Fox tested two nights of MLB prime time and averaged 2.7% of U.S. households — up 50% from afternoons.
The idea, if there's another ratings pop this year, is to possibly expand coverage to 10 Saturday nights in 2012. And, if Fox crammed lots of games — it will have six next weekend — into regionalized coverage, it might add studio shows and whip viewers between games.
Such a change could have ripple effects. Since other games can't be televised during Fox's TV window, more games in prime time might mean other games moving to daytime.
Spice rack: Fox's Tim McCarver on Yankees reactions to Derek Jeter's slump: "The patience for older players is almost nil in pro sports. … If you were a younger player, they'd be more inclined to say, 'He had an off month, but his numbers will be there at the end of the year.' " … NBC's Johnny Miller, on The Golf Channel, on top foreign players skipping The Players Championship: "All of the foreign players that come over here and got famous and really rich, I've never seen one of them on TV say: 'I'd like to thank the USA for making me rich.' I would just love to see (it) one time. I've never heard it."