I am a Washington DC native and what most people would call a sports fanatic. Over the years I have watched an uncountable number of Redskins, Orioles, Nationals, Capitals, DC United and Wizards games...not to mention the college counterparts as well, the Georgetown’s and George Mason’s.
One thing fans learn to love/hate is their local play-by-play guys. I can’t stress the love/hate relationship enough. You will not find anyone who is a die-hard fan who has not formed a slanted view of their “local team” one way or another. Being that I would fall into this category, I have formed my very own slanted opinion.
The Washington Wizards games have been the staple of my NBA season-watching for several years, not necessarily because they are “my team,” but because the Comcast SportsNet in my area airs generally every game of the season.
On a Wednesday night when there are other scheduled games I am more interested in, guess what game is the only one available to be watched? You guessed it, the often Gilbert Arenas-less Wizards.
The Wizards local broadcast team consists of Phil Chenier, a three-time NBA All-Star who played from 1971-1979 most of that time spent with the Washington Bullets (now Wizards) and the other, the focus of this piece is Steve Buckhantz.
Steve Buckhantz grew up in the area and was the Sports Director for the local FOX affiliate for over a decade. He has been the play-by-play man for the Washington Wizards for as long as I can remember, which it turns out happens to be about 14 years.
I love him! The style with which he broadcasts each and every game is one that coincides with the Marv Albert’s and Kevin Harlan’s of the world. He has a deep voice but not distracting.
His most important attribute is his ability to ADD to the broadcast. His comments about the action on the court never take away from it or become overbearing. He simply says what he sees and does it in a way that entertains as well as informs.
The key, as is with any sports broadcaster, are his collection of phrases which inevitably stream from his consciousness during each and every game. “Dagger!,” “Backbreaker!,” and my personal favorite, “how do you like that?!”
Steve Buckhantz, I salute you, you make Washington Wizards basketball watchable.