Despite lockout, NBA attendance, ratings increase

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Despite lockout, NBA attendance, ratings increase

Well, by the looks of things basketball fans really really missed the NBA and didn't hold much of a grudge as I thought they would. For now. After the 1998-'99 lockout, television ratings and attendance significantly dropped. Au contraire says 2011-12. The LA Times reports that the five Christmas day opener produced healthy ratings on TNT, ABC and ESPN, including ABC drawing in 11 million viewers for the Bulls-Lakers game. Twenty-five of the first 32 games in the shortened season were sellouts which is up from 19 of the first 32 last season. Maybe fans want to get their NBA fix in quick while it lasts. After the holidays, however attendance might fall, but the NBA is prepared for that. The NBA encouraged teams to make around 500 tickets per game available at 10 or less according to NBA Executive Vice President Chris Granger. Granger told the LA Times that about one million 10 tickets will be availble over the course of the season.There have also been plenty of subtle, or not-so subtle reminders that the NBA is back. In Atlanta, the Hawks operated toll booths during a morning rush and the Timberwolves staffed a drive-through window of a fast-food restaurant. And let's not forget the Bulls showcased their six championship trophies throughout the city prior to the beginning of the season. These fan-friendly initiatives could play a big part in the jump from 90.3 percent capacity for the full 2010-11 season to a now 99.2 percent capacity. But, time will tell if the stands will continue to fill. Have your views changed? Did you back off or are you just as a big of a fan as you were last season?

How many more championships does LeBron James have to win to be in the conversation with Michael Jordan?

How many more championships does LeBron James have to win to be in the conversation with Michael Jordan?

LeBron James has made a ridiculous seven straight NBA Finals, putting him (again) at the center of the 'Greatest Player of All-Time' debate. 

Ahead of his third straight championship series against the Golden State Warriors, James discussed how his streak will shape his place among the greats.  

"I think it's gonna be great for my legacy," James said to reporters. "Once I'm done playing the game, when we look back on the game, and we say, 'Oh, this guy went to three straight finals, four straight finals, five, six, whatever, seven.' I think it's great to be talked about, to see what I've been able to accomplish as an individual. You talk about longevity and being able to just play at a high level for a long period of time, and I've been fortunate enough to be able to do that." 

The SportsTalk Live panel discussed his comments and debated how many more rings The King would need to be in the conversation with Michael Jordan. 

Here's what each had to say: 

CSN's Mark Schanowski

"He would have to win three to reach Jordan's six just to be in the conversation. All those losses in the finals are obviously going to have an impact, so we'll give LeBron the sportsmanship ribbon. Michael just collects rings." 

WGN Radio's Mark Carman

"I would say 100. I'm not giving that up ever. Yes, I am extremely biased. But listen, this is an incredible opportunity for him. You've got a phenomenal Warriors team. You've got, for whatever reason, Las Vegas is making Cleveland a huge underdog. This is a great chance for him" 

Bleacher Report's Seth Gruen 

"To me, it's not a number. To me, he's gotta stop talking like that because that's loser talk. And I don't mean to come off with this sort of meatballish take, but the reality is you would have never heard Michael Jordan say that. And that's why Lebron gets so much flack in the conversation comparing the two because he's in the business of raising trophies, not second place." 

Chicago Tribune's Chris Hine 

"I think when it comes to Jordan, as somebody who didn't grow up in Chicago, I want him to get closer to six titles because I wanna see this town explode over the debate between LeBron and Jordan. I think to have a legitimate case, though, and to at least put it in people's mind that he's better than Jordan, he's got to at least get to six."  

Could Derrick Rose reunite with Tom Thibodeau in Minnesota?

Could Derrick Rose reunite with Tom Thibodeau in Minnesota?

Tom Thibodeau was without Derrick Rose for the first time in his head-coaching career last season, coaching the Timberwolves while Rose suited up for the New York Knicks.

But a reunion may be on the horizon. Rose is an unrestricted free agent and the Timberwolves, though they don't have a real need at point guard, are showing interest in the Chicago native. We'll have to wait until July 1, when free agency begins, to see what happens.

See what special guest Nick Friedell, Bulls beat reporter for ESPN, had to say about the topic on SportsTalk Live in the video above.