ABC is the exclusive home of the 2018 NBA Finals presented by YouTube TV as the defending NBA Champion Golden State Warriors – led by Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry – will square off with the Cleveland Cavaliers and LeBron James. It’s the first time in major professional sports that two teams have played each other four consecutive times for a championship. This is the 16th consecutive time that ESPN has produced the NBA Finals on ABC. Every NBA Finals game will be streamed via the ESPN App. Game 1 is Thursday, May 31, at 9 p.m. ET.
The longest-tenured NBA Finals broadcast quartet – Mike Breen, analysts Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson and reporter Doris Burke – will call their ninth championship series together. Officiating expert Steve Javie will provide additional analysis.
As part of ESPN’s all-in coverage of the NBA Finals, it will unveil its first “NBA Surround” initiative. “NBA Surround” will include pre-game and in-game second-screen streaming offerings for every game, and special post-game “NBA at the Mic” shows on ESPN2 or ESPNEWS, which will carry post-game press conferences.
During every NBA Finals game, ESPN will present “Full Court Press” – a second-screen experience featuring a variety of top ESPN NBA commentators and special guests, and an array of on-screen stats, data and on-screen graphics. “Full Court Press” will be available via ESPN3 on the ESPN App. Host and reporter Cassidy Hubbarth will join several NBA personalities, including Alvin Gentry, Richard Jefferson and Caron Butler for Game 1 and Tom Thibodeau, Jefferson and Butler for Game 2. Dan Le Batard will lead Game 3’s “Full Court Press” coverage from Miami, Fla. More details to come.
In addition, as part of “NBA Surround,” ESPN3 on the ESPN App will carry the pre-game warm-ups and layup lines for both NBA Finals teams, starting 45 minutes before each game. The ESPN App will also have an isolated camera feed displaying the game, with natural sound, throughout the series.
ESPN Radio, in its 24th season of NBA coverage, will serve as the national radio home for the NBA Finals. Marc Kestecher will describe the action with analyst and Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer Hubie Brown, who will be calling his record 17th NBA Finals as an analyst. Ramona Shelburne will serve as the game reporter. Additionally, Kevin Winter will host on-site ESPN Radio pre-game and halftime coverage with analyst Jon Barry. ESPN Radio coverage of the NBA Finals will begin at 8 p.m. for weeknight games and 7 p.m. for weekend games.
ESPN’s NBA commentator records:
Hubie Brown: 17th NBA Finals as analyst (television and radio combined)
Mike Breen: 13th NBA Finals as play-by-play commentator;
Jeff Van Gundy: 12th NBA Finals as NBA Finals television analyst;
Mark Jackson: 10th NBA Finals, the most for an African-American analyst.
For the 11th time, ESPN senior coordinating producer Tim Corrigan and director Jimmy Moore will lead NBA Finals production for ABC.
J. Cole stars in special broadcast open
Each game during the NBA Finals on ABC will begin with a custom broadcast open. This year, it will feature several songs from recording artist J. Cole’s best-selling album KOD, including “ATM,” “Motivat8,” “Photograph,” “Brackets,” and more.
NBA Countdown presented by Straight Talk Wireless – ESPN and ABC’s pregame show – will be on-site throughout the NBA Finals for back-to-back 30-minute shows on ESPN and ABC leading into each game. Michelle Beadle, in her second season as NBA Countdown host, will lead the show with analysts Paul Pierce, Chauncey Billups and Jalen Rose. NBA Countdown generally starts on ESPN prior to the game and continues on ABC 30 minutes prior to the game.
The Jump, ESPN’s daily NBA show, will be on site for weekday telecasts throughout the NBA Finals. Rachel Nichols, the host of The Jump, will join an all-star cast of commentators, including Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer Tracy McGrady, Vince Carter, Brian Winhorst, Amin Elhassan, Jackie MacMullan and many more. The Jump airs at 3 p.m. Monday – Friday on ESPN and the ESPN App. On game days, The Jump will expand to a 90-minute telecast.
SportsCenter, ESPN’s flagship news and information show, will have a significant on-site presence at the NBA Finals, led by veteran anchor Sage Steele. She will host SportsCenter on site at 6 p.m. with co-anchor Kevin Negandhi in the ESPN Bristol studios. Additionally, as recently announced, ESPN multi-platform commentator Stephen A. Smith will host special editions of SportsCenter at 7 p.m. on site prior to weeknight games.
Detail, the high-level basketball analysis and film study show from ESPN and Kobe Bryant’s Granity Studios, will document every NBA Finals game exclusively on ESPN+. The five-time NBA Champion Bryant will break down every game from the standpoint of a player of his selection.
ESPN’s First Take, with commentators Stephen A. Smith and Max Kellerman, and hosted by Molly Qerim, will be on-location from the NBA Finals through the series. In Oakland, the show will be live from Lake Chalet and in Cleveland, from City Club at FirstEnergy Stadium. All shows in Oakland and Cleveland will be open to the public, with doors opening approximately 90 minutes before show time. First Take airs weekdays, from 10 a.m. – Noon.
The NBA Finals will also be available in Spanish, exclusively on ESPN Deportes. In their 19th NBA Finals together, Alvaro Martin will provide play-by-play alongside analyst Carlos Morales. Sebastian Martinez-Christensen will serve as sideline reporter. The NBA Esta Noche preview show will lead into each game telecast with Ernesto Jerez and Fabricio Oberto. Alfredo Lomeli will serve as the special social media reporter on site.
The NBA Finals will air on ESPN platforms globally, including Latin America (including Brazil), Caribbean and Oceania. Additionally, ESPN brand licensing partners will air the event including, BT Sport (UK), TSN (Canada), Sony (India), Kwese (sub-Saharan Africa), and Tencent (China).
ESPN+will carry two new episodes NBA: Year One during the NBA Finals. The first is available today, May 29, while the second one will be posted on Tuesday, June 5.
Date Time (ET) Game Network(s)
Thu, May 31 9 p.m. The NBA Finals presented by YouTube TV on ABC (Game 1): Cleveland Cavaliers at Golden State Warriors ABC, ESPN Radio, ESPN Deportes, ESPN App
Sun, June 3 8 p.m. The NBA Finals presented by YouTube TV on ABC (Game 2): Cleveland Cavaliers at Golden State Warriors ABC, ESPN Radio, ESPN Deportes, ESPN App
Wed, June 6 9 p.m. The NBA Finals presented by YouTube TV on ABC (Game 3): Golden State Warriors at Cleveland Cavaliers ABC, ESPN Radio, ESPN Deportes, ESPN App
Fri, June 8 9 p.m. The NBA Finals presented by YouTube TV on ABC (Game 4): Golden State Warriors at Cleveland Cavaliers ABC, ESPN Radio, ESPN Deportes, ESPN App
Mon, June 11 9 p.m. *The NBA Finals presented by YouTube TV on ABC (Game 5): Cleveland Cavaliers at Golden State Warriors ABC, ESPN Radio, ESPN Deportes, ESPN App
Thu, June 14 9 p.m. *The NBA Finals presented by YouTube TV on ABC (Game 6): Golden State Warriors at Cleveland Cavaliers ABC, ESPN Radio, ESPN Deportes, ESPN App
Sun, June 17 8 p.m. *The NBA Finals presented by YouTube TV on ABC (Game 7): Cleveland Cavaliers at Golden State Warriors ABC, ESPN Radio, ESPN Deportes, ESPN App