The 25 Greatest NBA Announcers of All Time

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The 25 Greatest NBA Announcers of All Time
Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images

The NBA has long been a star-driven league, from the days of Wilt and Russell, to the era of Larry, Magic and Michael, to more modern times of Shaq, Kobe, AI and the current generation of King James’ reign.

Perhaps in the NBA more than any other major American sport, the announcers have been as much a part of the game as the players. Is it possible that Charles Barkley is more important to the game of basketball as a studio analyst than he was as a Hall of Fame player? Where would Chick Hearn rank in terms of important members of the Los Angeles Lakers organization?

What kid didn't grow up shooting hoops in the driveway and mimicking Marv Albert’s “Yesss...and it counts” every time the imaginary clock in his head wound down to one second to go with the game on the line?

Who among us doesn't dunk a crumpled piece of paper into the recycling with "no regard for human life"?

We love the game for the action on the court, the drama of a tight contest late in the fourth quarter and the excitement of a budding superstar having a career night on the brightest stage. The biggest moments, many of which come accompanied with the call from some of the industry’s best announcers, are etched in our minds forever.

So who are those announcers? Like most professional sports, the NBA has had the fortune of being associated with some of the industry’s best play-by-play voices. The NBA has a strong tradition of color analysts as well, some of whom became more known for their work calling the game than playing it.

This list is confined (almost) to play-by-play announcers and color analysts. It's part of a series of announcers rankings from Bleacher Report. Previously featured: NFL announcers, MLB announcers, and college football announcers.

This is a look at some of the most memorable announcers in the NBA, with a strong focus on national television broadcasters, many of whom are still working today. As with any of our rankings, this is a purely subjective exercise, and if your favorite announcer or local legend didn't make the list, it doesn't mean he wasn't great. It probably just means that the list of industry experts I asked for help didn't mention him. Or they did, and I picked someone else instead. Sorry in advance, Joe Tait fans.

To the list!

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