The 7 Biggest Homer Announcers in the NBA
Almost all home-team announcers in the NBA act a little biased, but these seven stand out as the biggest homer announcers in the league and will make your ears bleed if they're commenting on a game played against your favorite team.
That's not to say that they aren't quality announcers, just that they have a hard time remaining impartial as a game progresses. Instead, they lean more and more toward the team that helps to write their checks.
Money—and, in some cases, a history with the team—seems to make a big impact.
When you listen to one of these seven broadcasters, you'll hear plenty of cheering when things are going well for their team and plenty of jeering when the referees are throwing the game and the other team is cheating. Their favorite squad can't possibly just be playing poorly, after all.
Let's find out which guys we're talking about.
7. Bill Land, San Antonio Spurs
With a multi-sport background and over two decades of experience working with Fox Sports Net, Bill Land has now settled in to his role as the play-by-play announcer for the San Antonio Spurs. It's the role he's filled for four years running now.
It's weird to think about because the San Antonio Spurs are typically associated with unadulterated classiness, but Land—and occasionally his partner, Sean Elliott—definitely fall into the "homer" category:
Who is announcing this Grizzlies-Spurs game? These guys are such homers that even Tommy Heinsohn is disgusted.— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) April 21, 2011
You can hear it in Land's speech. When the Spurs are in a tight battle, his voice doesn't just get excited; it gets almost unbearable to listen to if you're rooting for the other team because the dramatic change in pitch.
6. Craig Bolerjack, Utah Jazz
As you can see in the embedded video, Craig Bolerjack (affectionately known as "Boler" within the Utah Jazz fanbase) and former player Matt Harpring have some pretty solid chemistry.
A linebacker for the Kansas State Wildcats until a knee injury cut his career short, Bolerjack still maintains the ability to announce multiple sports, but he's become known primarily for his work as the voice of the Jazz.
Alongside Harpring, his chemistry in the booth leads to two things: entertainment and homerism.
The good rapport they have on air makes Jazz games more enjoyable to listen to because they aren't competing for airtime, but it also becomes a slippery slope. Once they get going in pro-Utah fashion, Boler has a tough time holding himself back, forcing his commentary to seem a little bit too biased.
5. Grant Napear, Sacramento Kings
Grant Napear has worked as the Sacramento Kings' play-by-play announcer ever since the start of the 1988-89 season, back when Wayman Tisdale, Kenny Smith and Danny Ainge were leading the charge until injuries dismantled the season.
On a side note, it's amazing how well that roster has managed to stay involved in basketball. Kenny works with TNT as a television personality, Ainge and Jim Petersen have jobs in the NBA and WNBA, respectively, and Vinny Del Negro and Randy Wittman both have coaching gigs.
With 24 years under his belt, Napear has every reason to have grown attached to the Kings, even if he's a New York native with ties to Bowling Green. And as you might have guessed from his inclusion here, he often lets that attachment shine through when announcing.
This video shows just one of the many examples of Napear going off when he doesn't agree with a referee's decision that goes against his team.
4. Austin Carr, Cleveland Cavaliers
Austin Carr is so affiliated with the Cleveland Cavaliers franchise that he's known as "Mr. Cavalier." At this point, you shouldn't be at all surprised that he's finding himself on a list of the biggest homer announcers in the NBA.
A member of the 1974 All-Star squad, Carr spent all but his final season of professional basketball in Cleveland before joining the broadcast team long after his last game played for the on-court team.
Even though I'm not a Cavs fan, I can't help but enjoy listening to the former guard wax poetic about his favorite team on the air. His excitement is contagious, and his signature calls are pretty well known at this point.
That said, I'm going to throw the hammer down and call him a massive homer. It's part of what makes him endearing.
3. Stacey King, Chicago Bulls
Just as was the case with Austin Carr, Stacey King has a legitimate reason to be a homer when announcing for the Chicago Bulls. After all, he won a ring with Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen in 1991. And 1992. And 1993.
Now that he's with the broadcast team, King acts like he's still a member of the Bulls' roster. Or at least like he's in a local bar and cheering for his team alongside a bunch of other rowdy fans.
Some of the things he says during a game just leave you scratching your head, but his homerism has allowed him to rack up some serious brownie points with the Chicago faithful. Plus, his constant nickname-giving and catch-phrase-making-up enable him to drastically increase the entertainment value of the broadcast.
2. Mike Rice, Portland Trail Blazers
You know that an announcer is a little bit biased when he starts screaming at the referees to look at a replay, even if it wasn't technically part of his broadcast.
Mike Rice also has the dubious distinction of being the only announcer to ever be ejected from an NBA game. To the best of my knowledge, there is no video or audio evidence of the occurrence, but it does live on in Portland Trail Blazers lore, thanks to The New York Times:
The Portland Trail Blazers had a six-game winning streak snapped and lost their radio analyst in the process -- he was ejected by a referee.
Rik Smits had 24 points and 13 rebounds, his fifth straight game with double figures in both, as the Indiana Pacers, playing in Indianapolis, topped the Blazers.
Reggie Miller scored 20 points for the Pacers, who have won 3 straight games, 7 in a row at home and 13 of 15 over all.
Indiana took control in a wild third quarter when the Blazers were called for two technical fouls and had their radio analyst, Mike Rice, ejected from press row by Referee Steve Javie.
After that infamous 106-94 loss by the Blazers on March 1, 1994, "The Wild One" has moved on to television and has worked alongside Mike Barrett since 2006-07.
Need I say anything more?
1. Tommy Heinsohn, Boston Celtics
Tommy Heinsohn is so much of a homer for the Boston Celtics that his middle name might as well be Simpson. If you're curious, it's actually William.
Tommy Heinsohn is so much of a homer that he might tell Doc Rivers to use a play called "The Trojan Horse."
Tommy Heinsohn is so much of a homer that he might very well spend halftime painting landscapes.
On a more serious note, the former member of the C's is so obnoxiously pro-Boston that even his team's own fans sometimes can't help but hit the mute button.