ESPN has hired former coach George Karl and former player Dan Majerle as NBA game analysts. Karl also will serve as a studio analyst for ABC Sports' NBA coverage.
Karl most recently coached the Milwaukee Bucks, which bought out the final year of his contract in July. Majerle retired from the NBA in 2002 after 14 seasons.
"For many years in the NBA, George Karl and Dan Majerle proved they could make a difference on the court, and their experience will translate to television because of their insight, ability to communicate and passion for the game," said Mark Shapiro, ESPN executive vice president, programming and production.
Karl had only three losing seasons out of 16 in Cleveland (1984-86), Golden State (1986-88), Seattle (1991-98) and Milwaukee (1998-03), compiling a .587 winning percentage. The coach's 708 career wins rank 15th on the NBA career list. His 1996 Seattle squad reached the NBA Finals but lost to the Chicago Bulls.
Karl helped lead the University of North Carolina to the 1972 NCAA Final Four. Drafted by the Knicks, Karl signed with the San Antonio Spurs of the ABA. He played five seasons for the Spurs, averaging 6.5 points per game, including the last two in the NBA. He was an assistant coach with the San Antonio Spurs and a head coach with the Montana Golden Nuggets of the CBA before accepting a position with the front office of the Cleveland Cavaliers. The following year, 1984, he was named the team's head coach.
Majerle, a three-time NBA All-Star, played for Phoenix (1988-95 and 2001-02), Cleveland (1995-96) and Miami (1996-2001). The guard/forward, who was known for his 3-point shooting, averaged 11.4 points and 4.5 rebounds per game during the regular season and 11.7 points in 123 playoff contests.
A first-round draft pick (14th overall) from Central Michigan, Majerle won a bronze medal at the 1988 Olympics. He holds the NBA record for most 3-pointers made in the NBA Finals with 17 against Chicago in 1993. His best seasons were during his first stint with the Suns, averaging 17.3 points and 5.9 rebounds in 1991-92, followed by seasons averaging 16.9 and 16.5 points.
ABC Sports, ESPN and ESPN2 will carry 90 regular-season games in 2003-04. ESPN and ESPN2 will televise 72 games beginning with a doubleheader on ESPN Oct. 29 at 8 p.m. ET: Orlando Magic at the New York Knicks followed by the Cleveland Cavaliers, and LeBron James' first nationally televised regular-season appearance, at Sacramento at 10:30 p.m. ABC Sports will broadcast 18 games starting with a Christmas doubleheader: the Dallas Mavericks at Sacramento at 6 p.m. and Houston at Los Angeles at 8:30 p.m.
The three networks also will present the playoffs. ABC Sports has exclusive rights to the NBA Finals.