Best and Worst of NBA Broadcasters in 2012-13
Sitting for two-and-a-half hours and talking non-stop tends to make for some interesting scenarios, and we've all got our own set of favorite and least favorite NBA announcers.
It's pretty concise; a ton of people like Jeff Van Gundy because of his honesty on what is and isn't a problem in the league, while many people dislike Reggie Miller for his nasal voice, his bothersome enthusiasm and his general lack of an addition to the experience of watching a game.
Bad announcing is why Mark Jackson is now a head coach, and good announcing is why we're getting a lot more Chris Webber in our lives as the months go by.
When you get down onto the local level it's a lot easier to pick nits, but there's a general consensus about a select few announcers, while the rest are mostly interchangeable personalities. As a local announcer, if you're not talked about too much, odds are you're doing a good job.
So far this year, we've seen quite a bit of the good and the bad—with the good moments being the ones that make us laugh along with the announcers, and the bad ones being the ones when we can't help but cringe.
No. 4 Best: A Visit from Good 'Ol J.R.
For those of you unaware, Jim Ross is the old commentator for the WWE who is now mostly retired but living on in Internet remixes of his commentary, mostly put atop other ridiculous sports moments.
He's marked by his over-the-top reactions, insistence that someone involved has died and his utter disgust at what he has just witnessed. In other words, he makes things amazing.
Jim Ross was Gus Johnson before Johnson ever knew what a buzzer-beater was, and he was doing it better for longer than Johnson was at CBS.
Heck, there was even a game last year in which J.R. was a guest commentator for the Oklahoma City Thunder for a quarter, and he was pretty darn entertaining.
With the recent rash of ridiculous dunks inducing numerous jokes about the guy getting dunked on being dead, it only made sense that somebody would get some old J.R. clips and throw them overtop of the recent dunk-murders.
This one is easily the best.
The thing I really learned from all of this is that I would love to hear a game with J.R. on the play-by-play microphone. Even better if they team him up with Bill Walton.
No. 4 Worst: Neil Funk and Stacey King Are So Confused
Neil Funk and Stacey King are generally entertaining guys. Sure, King is a huge homer, but he's a local announcer for one of the NBA's most popular teams; that's kind of his job.
However, when they end up misunderstanding basic concepts of basketball, I start to get a bit worried.
In a game in which the Bobcats were giving the Bulls a bit of a walloping (as far as Charlotte walloping goes), Chicago found itself with an opportunity to get back into the game before the two-minute mark, at which point an intentional off-ball foul would be more damaging.
After committing their fourth foul of the game, Taj Gibson intentionally fouls Bismack Biyombo in a hack-a-Bismack routine in hopes of missed free throws.
King and Funk were baffled.
It got to the point that King actually defended Gibson for his intentional foul, claiming he was merely trying to deny Biyombo the ball.
Somebody let these guys know what this move is before we get another embarrassing moment like this.
No. 3 Best: Matt Devlin Disses Wale
Matt Devlin and Leo Rautins are two genuinely clueless white dudes, which can get quite hilarious at times.
Of course, when it's not hilarious, it can get downright awkward.
Thankfully for them, it was rapper Wale making things awkward, and not themselves.
Devlin and Rautins were talking about a fan heckling Rudy Gay during a game in Washington, and that fan just happened to be Wale, whom Devlin referred to as a "well-known local rapper," asking his Twitter followers to tell him if they've ever heard of Wale, then saying, "He's not Drake, that's for sure."
Apparently somebody told Wale that Devlin and Rautins were talking about him, so he decided to go up and confront the two Raptors commentators.
No. 3 Worst: Sean Elliott's Existence
Sean Elliott is thoroughly terrible. The only NBA announcer who is a bigger homer would be Tommy Heinsohn, and he kind of gets a pass because he's been around the league for longer than Elliott has been alive.
Sure, the player was DeMarcus Cousins, but that doesn't make it any less ridiculous.
It's a shame that Elliott is such a horribly unprofessional announcer, especially with how terrific an organization the Spurs are.
No. 2 Best: Chris Webber Telestrates Snack Time
This ice cream-eating hero has been bouncing around the Internet for a few days now, and this clip wouldn't be half as good if it weren't for Chris Webber's narration.
Webber whips out the telestrator pen and details exactly what's going on in the clip, joking and poking fun at both parties involved with terrific accuracy.
In fact, the couple in the clip were interviewed after it went viral, and Webber's analysis of the interaction wasn't too far off from what happened.
It just goes to show you that Webber's an incredibly knowledgeable analyst, whether it be basketball, or just an average confrontation between a young couple.
This is why Webber needs to be involved with as many games as possible.
No. 2 Worst: Pistons and Wizards Get It Wrong
There's something about a buzzer-beater that brings out the best in NBA announcers, but when a buzzer-beater doesn't actually go in, unbeknownst to the guys commentating the game, basketball play-by-play gold happens.
To be fair to everybody involved, the shot seriously does look like it goes in, but they had to feel as if there was something strange going on with the shot.
Washington's announcers go into full-on game-winner mode. Steve Buckhantz shouts "Dagger!" as the crowd goes wild. The only problem was that the only people in the arena who seemed to realize the shot was an air ball were the players.
The fans went crazy, the announce crew went crazy and a few Pistons players put their arms up in celebration. Of course, they were celebrating a miss, while the Wizards players were walking off defeated.
Detroit's broadcast seemed a bit more suspicious, as they first insinuate that the shot was after the buzzer, which was also wrong.
Eventually both sides figured it out, giving us one of the funniest moments in broadcasting history.
I can't say it was overly terrible, mostly because both crews made the same forgivable mistake, but it's got to be a bit embarrassing in the moment.
No. 1 Best: Tim Kitzrow Shows Up Again
This one's a bit of a mix of college and professional, but when ESPNU's UNITE brought back Tim Kitzrow to call some dunk highlights, my 90s meter cranked its way up to 11 and promptly exploded, at which point I had no choice but to yell, "Boom Shaka Laka!"
Kitzrow, of course, is the famous announcer of the NBA Jam games past and present, and has proven time and time again to be the perfect voice to a basketball video game.
He's capable of hitting cheesy catch phrases and making them sound amazing, his voice is insanely unique and he's just excited, yet professional sounding enough to make it seem like an actual basketball game going on.
There's not much to this little clip besides a few terrific dunks, some amazing commentating and enough nostalgia to kill a full-grown silverback gorilla.
In other words, it's an amazing four minutes.
No. 1 Worst: Kendall Gill Throws a Punch
Kendall Gill has been working as an analyst for Comcast Sports Net and the Big Ten Network for a bit now, so it seems as if he should know what kind of professionalism should go into the job.
This all started out after a Bulls-Nuggets game yielded a controversial call on a Joakim Noah game-winner that was waved off and deemed offensive basket interference. Gill thought it was a bad call in the postgame analysis.
Afterward, Gill was a part of a panel discussion show, Sports Talk Live with Tim Doyle, in which Doyle criticized Gill's analysis of the call.
The ball was in the cylinder, at lest a bit, which is offensive goaltending by rule.
Gill didn't like the criticism, so he confronted Doyle after the show was taped and promptly started a fight and punched the other analyst for his troubles, promptly earning himself a suspension.
It may not have happened on air, but as a television personality, punching one of your co-workers isn't a way to further your career.