In the aftermath of Game 6, NBC sportscasters didn't exactly ignore the referees' mistakes that cost the Jazz three points and gave the Bulls two, but they didn't exactly play those facts up, either.
Earlier in the game, NBC had made a major point out of the officials' incorrectly taking a 3-pointer away from Howard Eisley - wrongly ruling that the 24-second clock had expired. And, when replays showed that a Ron Harper two-point HAD come after the 24-second clock had expired, even Isiah Thomas said, "I think that was a shot-clock violation.""If they missed that call," Costas said before the replay, "it's a five-point swing." But after the Bulls won Game 6 and the title by a single point, Costas quickly commented, "The Howard Eisley three that was taken away in the first half will eat at (the Jazz) all summer long."
No further mention was made during the Bulls' celebration. No replays. No mention or replay of Harper's basket that should not have been.
This is not simply sour grapes by a writer from Utah. The criticism here is of the inconsistency on the part of the sportscasters, who ignored their own observations and analysis.
Did ABC sportscasters play down the famous "fifth down" officials awarded the Colorado University football team en route to a victory over Missouri and a national championship a few years back? Absolutely not. And the situations are analogous - both that game and this one involved obvious, demonstrable official errors. It's not like arguing over which way a foul should have gone.
A clock error by NBA officials that cost the Knicks a game earlier this year was a major topic of discussion in the media for days.
At the very least, shouldn't the events in Sunday's game have elicited a discussion about whether the moment has arrived when some sort of official review of the videotape could become part of the NBA, even if the NBC crew wanted to argue against it?
Costas said in the closing moments of NBC's telecast, "It's been an incredible ride for the Bulls. And we at NBC have been privileged to be carried along on that ride." And NBC was loathe to admit there was any sort of taint on Chicago's latest title.
Costas and the other members of the NBC broadcast team were left looking as if their special relationships with the Bulls and the NBA were more important to them than any sort of vague journalistic integrity they might have.
FORTY-SEVEN: Number of references NBC sportscasters made to Scottie Pippen's injured back
TWO: Number of references to John Stockton's sore back
TWO: Number of references to Eisley's ear troubles
ZERO: Number of references to Karl Malone's nagging finger injury
ZERO: Number of references to Dennis Rodman's finger injury
ZERO: Number of references to Jeff Hornacek's nagging Achilles tendon injury
ACCURATE REPORTING? At least four times during the first half and halftime, Ahmad Rashad - either directly or through Costas or Hannah Storm - reported that Pippen would not return to the game.
It was beginning to sound like that old "Saturday Night Live" joke about how, "General Francisco Franco is still dead."
Pippen, of course, started the second half and played much of the third and fourth quarters.
THAT'S ODD: After all that talk about Pippen's back, it was somewhat odd that NBC never mentioned that Stockton had gone to the Jazz locker room for back treatments until he was back on the bench - some seven minutes later (as reported by Gray).
And, for the first of only two times during the game (and the only two times in memory), Costas reported that Stockton has "had somewhat of a sore back throughout this series."
TELEVISED CRIME: NBC cameras caught Pippen lighting up a cigar on the court at the Delta Center - a violation of Utah law.
GAG: Bill Walton nearly went into orbit praising the Bulls, calling them "just a priceless treasure for the entire world of basketball."
HOW'S THAT AGAIN? Once again, Thomas had more than a bit of trouble verbally plowing his way through his prepared opening statements. His biggest stumble - "Pippen and Jordan took 42 field goals to combine for 11 field-goal attempts."
CHALKBOARD: Once again, NBC made great uses of that overhead camera angle to demonstrate the Bulls' multiple illegal defenses.
CAN'T ARGUE WITH THAT: Costas spoke for millions when he commented on Malone's reported plans to participate in a professional wrestling event against Rodman. "Why Malone wants to lower himself to that level, I don't know," he said.