Don Nelson prepared to take a free throw at Boston Garden while viewers around the nation watched on ABC. The NBA signed a deal with ABC in 1964 to broadcast the league’s games and later extended the deal in 1969. When airing disputes led some NBA owners to think of leaving ABC, Red Auerbach cautioned against it. This was one battle Auerbach lost. The TV deal went to CBS starting in the 1973-74 season and the NBA’s viewership rates dropped 20 percent.
( C ) NBA/Celtics