ESPN2 High-School Game Tops NBA


And a child shall lead them -- or in this case, a man-child.
ESPN2's coverage of high-school basketball sensation LeBron James and his St. Vincent-St. Mary (Akron, Ohio) team Dec. 12 scored a 1.97 rating (1.67 million households) during its 20-point triumph over No. 1 Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.).

That compares with the 0.7 rating (565,000 households) for Turner Network Television's presentation of the National Basketball Association contest between the Chicago Bulls and Detroit Pistons that night, according to Nielsen Media Research data.

The national coming-out party for James - -whom many hoops experts believe will forego college and become the first pick in the NBA draft next spring -- was the highest-rated show on ESPN2 since the network's Feb. 18, 2001, installment of auto-racing series RPM Tonight the day National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing legend Dale Earnhardt died at the Daytona 500.

An ESPN spokesman said James' game was the third-highest-rated basketball game ever on ESPN2.