Even if the Cleveland Cavaliers can’t win back-to-back NBA Championships, LeBron James could still have a successful season with his new game show on NBC, The Wall. While trade rumors abound regarding Kevin Love, the power forward helped King James and the Cavs defeat Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks on Saturday night. Although Cleveland remains the top team in the NBA’s Eastern Conference, they have won fewer games than the top three teams (Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs and Houston Rockets) in the Western Conference. Meanwhile, James is one of the executive producers for NBC’s The Wall, which is seeing killer ratings on Tuesday nights, while being hosted by Chris Hardwick.
Wow. Not much I can say beyond thank you. Thank you to EVERY single person involved in @nbcthewall. We have the best team in the business & I’m proud and lucky to be part of it. Thank you for having me on this journey with you. #striveforgreatness @springhillent
A photo posted by LeBron James (@kingjames) on
LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers
Their win over the Knicks puts the Cavs on a two-game win streak, winning just five of their last 10 games. After the most unlikely comeback in NBA Finals history, it would appear as though Cleveland’s momentum has started to run out. With the NBA All-Star Game two weeks away and the NBA trade deadline just four days later, the league’s focus will soon turn to the NBA Playoffs. At this point, there’s no reason to believe that the Cavaliers won’t finish at the top of the Eastern Conference when the regular season concludes in April. But a championship for James, Love and Kyrie Irving looks even less likely this season than last.
During Saturday night’s game against the New York Knicks — Cleveland’s ninth straight victory over the legendary NBA franchise — All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving sat out due to soreness in his quadriceps. Kevin Love stepped up with 23 points and 16 rebounds, while LeBron James was good for 32 points and 10 assists. Brandon Jennings had a fantastic game for New York, scoring 23 points and dishing out 10 assists. Carmelo Anthony was held to just 17 points.
While rumors continue to circle about Kevin Love going to New York and Carmelo Anthony coming to Cleveland, their respective performances on Saturday night would suggest that trade would be a bad move for the Cavaliers — especially when it would mean splitting up the “Big 3” that took them to their first NBA Championship.
Cleveland has six more games before the NBA All-Star Game weekend. Their next three games are on the road, as they travel to play the Washington Wizards (February 6), Indiana Pacers (February 8), and Oklahoma City Thunder (February 9). Then they face the Denver Nuggets at home (February 11), the Minnesota Timberwolves on the road (February 14) and then welcome the Pacers to Quicken Loans Arena (February 15).
LeBron James, Chris Hardwick and The Wall
In the same way that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and John Cena have proved that their charisma and natural talent as athletic performers can translate into success outside of a WWE wrestling ring, LeBron James is starting to show that the charisma and natural talent he possesses on the basketball court can translate into other successful ventures as well. LeBron James’ role in the Amy Schumer movie Trainwreck showed that James will have no trouble finding small acting roles once he’s finished with basketball. His decision to dump McDonald’s for Blaze Pizza shows that he’s keeping his thumb on the pulse of growing businesses and his own personal brand.
Now, as one of the executive producers of The Wall, King James may be proving that he’s more like King Midas, turning everything he touches into gold. The seventh episode of The Wall aired on January 31, beating out a new episode of Bones on Fox, a new episode of Legends of Tomorrow on The CW, and a rerun of Fresh Off the Boat on ABC. There were over 6 million viewers with a 1.5 rating. The rerun of The Wall that aired just before the new episode received 4.6 million viewers, beating out new episodes of The Flash and New Girl and a rerun of The Middle.
Admittedly, a major role that LeBron has played in The Wall so far has simply been using his name to hype the show. His is one of the first faces that appears when the show begins, and he personally delivered the cash prize to home of the first winners. But it’s really the format of the show — and Chris Hardwick as host — that are helping make The Wall the best new game show on television.
Although no specific criteria are outlined, Chris Hardwick — who co-hosted Singled Out on MTV in the 90s and currently hosts The Talking Dead and @Midnight — always begins the show by reminding the audience that the contestants are good people (veterans, parents, people who give back to the community) that deserve to win a life-changing amount of money. He also reminds the contestants that if everything goes just right, they could leave with as much as $12 million.
Like Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, LeBron’s game show requires contestants to answer multiple-choice trivia questions that get harder as the show progresses. After the relatively simple first round, contestants answering the questions are isolated from everyone else, including their game show partners (typically a spouse). Like the game “Plinko” on The Price is Right, the exact amount of money you win (or lose) depends on how lucky you get when you drop a series of balls as they bounce down a vertical grid. Strategy comes into play when the person answering the questions — who hasn’t been told whether or not any of their answers are correct — must try to decide whether they should keep the guaranteed money they’ve earned from answering questions or risk it all to see what their partner was able to win in their battle with The Wall.
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Where to Watch the Cleveland Cavaliers and The Wall
The Cleveland Cavaliers play the Washington Wizards on Monday, February 6 at 7 p.m. EST. The game will air nationally on TNT and regionally on Fox Sports Ohio. The last time the two teams played was in Washington on November 11, and the Cavs won 105-94.
The next new episode of The Wall will air on NBC on Tuesday, February 7 at 8 p.m. EST. The contestants will be siblings Katie and Kevin who both happen to be high school teachers. Replays of The Wall can be streamed on-demand via Hulu.
[Featured Image by Elsa/Getty Images]