Feb 21, 2011, 5:05 PM EST
It was more than just Rihanna and Drake (and Kanye). It certainly was more than Lenny Kravitz.
It’s the game.
The NBA is as hot as it has been since the Jordan era and that continued again Sunday — the All-Star Game from Staples Center had 9.1 million people tune in to watch, the highest ratings since 2003, the year of Jordan’s retirement, TNT announced.
Ratings were up 33 percent over last year and up at least 29 percent in every age demographic and up at least 40 percent in every male age demographic.
That followed on the heels of an All-Star Saturday night that got the best ratings in the 26 years of the event.
All season long television ratings have been up for the NBA (and overall ticket sales are up one percent from last year). Credit the Heat and LeBron James, credit Kobe Bryant, credit the Lakers and Celtics being good at the same time again, credit young stars like Blake Griffin and Kevin Durant. Credit whatever you want (or all of it together), the numbers show it to be a reality.
Which will make it especially sad when the owners and players throw it all away by forcing a lockout that drives many of those fans away.
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- PBT’s weekly NBA Power Rankings: Hawks seem to be out of malaise. Maybe. 11
- Report: Jimmy Butler could miss three to four weeks with elbow injury 7