November 28, 2012

Broadcast Impressions: NBA Announcers

During the summer I completed my massive Baseball Broadcaster Impressions project. I'm going to start a little side project called Broadcast Impressions where I take a look at the rest of the broadcasters in other leagues. Today I start with NBA announcers.

One of things that amazed me about watching all the different MLB broadcasts over the summer was that there were very few homer broadcasters. Sure you have Hawk and Bob Carpenter and the Brennaman boys, but there were very few truly homerific announcers in baseball. It was nice to see the majority of the broadcasters, who in the end might be a little dull, stay away from being complete homers. You can't really say the same thing about NBA announcers.

The NBA is infested with homer announcers on their broadcast. The league is just the opposite of MLB. Where with baseball I can count the number of homer announcers with my fingers, I can count on my fingers those who are not homers in the NBA.

The worst offenders will forever be the Portland Trail Blazers which started the tradition of being homers during the great Bill Schonely's reign. Schonely was a great announcer but my goodness was he a homer. That tradition has been carried on by Blazers announcers Mike Rice and especially radio announcer Brian Wheeler.

They're not alone. When playoff games were aired on NBAtv the past couple of years using the local announcers, the audience was treated to the likes of Sean Elliot an homer that would make Hawk Harrelson cringe.

Go around the league and listen to either the radio or TV announcers in the NBA and you'll find multiple homers. Stacy King in Chicago, Bob Fitzgerald with Golden State, hell even Clark Kellogg can become a little homerish during Pacers broadcasts.

My question is why are there so many homers in the NBA and also the NHL which I excluded from the conversation because well that league doesn't exist at the moment? I have a theory about this.

MLB teams feel like mini-corporations. There's many moving parts involved with MLB teams including a much bigger roster than NBA teams. Meanwhile the NBA has the feel of a small business. Teams don't make as much money, have smaller numbers of employees, have more of a family feel around them. So I tend to think the announcers treat the teams like soccer moms rooting for their kids at a match.

Seriously turn on an NBA local broadcast. The broadcasters root for the teams like parents. They cheer, they moan when something bad happens, and they complain when a foul is called. It's like listening to the most annoying parent at the local football game every night.

I try to mostly stay away from the local broadcast and just watch the national games. Going from Mike Rice to Marv Albert is like upgrading from a Chevy to a Ferrari. But if there's a good game on that isn't national I'm stuck with these soccer moms along with everyone else. God help us.


  1. Here's your example from my neck of the woods, which is funny to me since I'm not a Jazz fan. Craig Bolerjack referred to the heyday of your Kings as "the days of Doug Christie and Vlade Divac". You can take over from there.

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