From today's perspective, the 1980 NBA Finals between the Los Angeles Lakers and Philadelphia 76ers are memorable because of the resurgence of Magic Johnson and his heroic performance in game 6 of that series that won the Lakers another title. It was a game that put Magic Johnson's name on the map, up there among other greats in the league, despite the fact he was barely 20 years old.
Magic's historic performance was dropped from national coverage for Hulk
To refresh everyone's memory, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar went down with an injury in game 5 and didn't travel to Philadelphia, but luckily for the Lakers, Magic had one of the best games of his career and demolished the Sixers with 42 points, 15 rebounds and 7 assists which also won him the Finals MVP award. Unfortunately for him and the Lakers, most people weren't even able to see that game live on TV, and it was all because of the TV series The Incredible Hulk.
At that time, the NBA wasn't the most popular league because of all the controversies that were happening in the 70s, and its viewership was decreasing, but its popularity was slowly starting to increase in the 80s, thanks to Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, and later Michael Jordan. However, the crucial game 6 between the Sixers and the Lakers was only aired live if you lived in Seattle, Portland, LA, or Philadelphia.
The iconic game was not aired live for the majority of the US population
CBS was in charge of airing the NBA games during those years, but they decided to opt out of showing the game to the larger audience because of the Incredible Hulk series and then The Duke of Hazzard.
That means most people didn't have the chance to see this iconic game in real time unless they waited until 2 am ET when CBS finally decided to air the game. Obviously, only real fans stayed up that late to watch a game that is still considered historic today, and this shows priorities were much different in national coverage back then when it came to NBA games, even the series-clinching ones like Game 6 of the NBA Finals.
For younger readers unfamiliar with the show, The Incredible Hulk was a very popular series back then, and it aired from 1978 until 1981. After those NBA Finals, we never had a similar case when the NBA Finals were dropped in such a way because of a TV series, mostly because the NBA's popularity grew rapidly in the 80s and the 90's to the global league that it is today.