NBA Notes: New York Knicks introduce Jeff Hornacek as next head coach


GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Jeff Hornacek competed against Phil Jackson for years, and he remembers only a couple of short, painful conversations.

"I think probably the only words I'd ever said to him were, `Congratulations on the championship again,' when they beat us two times," Hornacek said.

So when Hornacek learned that Jackson wanted to interview him for the New York Knicks coaching job, he figured they would talk briefly before the president of basketball operations moved on to hire somebody he knew better.

Instead, their conversation lasted six hours, and now they will be together for a few years.

The Knicks introduced Hornacek as their new coach Friday, a few weeks after Jackson found the leadership and demeanor he wanted in his coach.

"That comfort zone was possible, and I think the basketball knowledge that he has and the familiarity he has playing basketball are things that attracted us together," Jackson said.

They first spoke on the phone this spring while Hornacek was in a hospital visiting his mother-in-law, who was recovering from knee surgery. They also met in Los Angeles when Hornacek was in town for his daughter's graduation from Southern California, then flew to New York for another discussion.

Their teams had faced off in the NBA Finals in 1997 and 1998, with Jackson's Chicago Bulls beating Hornacek's Utah Jazz both times.

Jackson respected his abilities and kept tabs on the shooting guard after he finished his playing career and returned to the NBA a few years later as a Jazz assistant and later as coach of the Phoenix Suns (see full story)

Warriors-Cavaliers Game 1 draws strong overnight ratings for ABC
OAKLAND, Calif. -- Game 1 of the NBA Finals between Golden State and Cleveland drew a 13.1 overnight rating, the highest-rated Game 1 broadcast on ABC.

The rematch of last year's finals featuring Stephen Curry and LeBron James, the NBA's two biggest stars, was expected to garner large audiences.

Nielsen says the game on Thursday night broke ABC's previous high of 12.9 for last year's Game 1. It is also a 26 percent increase from Game 1 of the 2014 finals between Miami and San Antonio.

The game delivered a 36.0 rating in Cleveland and 32.8 in San Francisco. Ratings represent the percentage of U.S. homes with televisions tuned to a program.

Game 2 is on Sunday in Oakland.

Akron hospital, birthplace of LeBron and Curry, hands out gifts during Finals
AKRON, Ohio -- Newborns at the Ohio hospital where LeBron James and Stephen Curry were born will get some special gifts during the NBA finals as those stars face off.

Akron-based Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. is giving care packages to parents of children born in Akron-area hospitals through June 19.

James and Curry were born at Akron City Hospital. The stars are going against each other as James' Cleveland Cavaliers play Curry and the Golden State Warriors.

Golden State won game one in the best-of-seven series Thursday night.

The Akron Beacon Journal ( ) reports families of the newborns will receive a set of four tires, an "Akron Born" onesie and a car seat.

Summa Akron City Hospital, Cleveland Clinic Akron General and Akron Children's Hospital are participating to help deliver the packages.

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