As a kid growing up in the ’80s and ’90s, your typical Saturday morning meant one thing: the NBA on NBC.
Admit it, every time you hear the familiar tune of “Heart of a Champion,” you’re transported back to a childhood weekend in front of the old-school Hitachi TV set. There’s Marv Albert, calling the game. Mike Fratello providing commentary. Bob Costas, Peter Vecsey, and Hannah Storm in studio. Michael Jordan going head-to-head with John Starks. Those were the days.
Back then, professional sports made it their mission to reach out to the youth of the world. Primetime games were played at 10:00 AM on Saturday mornings. Shows like NBA Inside Stuff with Ahmad Rashad were geared towards engaging a younger crowd, as well as adults. Even the NBA All-Star Weekend featured a pre-event tailored especially for pre-pubescents. The stars of yesteryear were role models (despite what Charles Barkley might profess), and the best of the best capitalized on their kid-friendly fame to expand their fan base (think M.J. in Space Jam).