NBA Playoffs: Semifinal Commentators' Breakdown

Jason StoudemireAnalyst IMay 28, 2008

(1) Los Angeles Lakers vs. (3) San Antonio Spurs

With TNT covering one of the most star-studded semifinal series in recent memory, the work of Marv Albert and Doug Collins has also lived up to expectations.

Albert has one of the most famous voices in the history of sport and is well known for his "facial" calls. He is one of the most famous commentators of all time, appearing on the Late Show with David Letterman various times. Although he has had moderate legal trouble, the one-time "Voice of the Knicks" is often compared to NFL commentator Al Michaels in terms of style. Albert's most famous call: "Here Comes Willis!"

Doug Collins, an ex-head coach for the Chicago Bulls, Detroit Pistons, and Washington Wizards, coached Michael Jordan both in Chicago and in Washington. An ex-NBA player himself, Collins averaged an above-average 17.9 points per game lifetime average. His smooth description of instances only a coach would understand during a game is what makes him a valuable sidekick to Albert. Collins is highly respected in the booth and decribes what a player and coach may be discussing during :20 timeouts better than most in his profession.

(Collins was also the player on the 1972 US Men's Olympic basketball team that made the two free throws to take a one point lead on the Soviet Union as time expired. Apparently, the USSR was paying people or something and the US team was robbed of a gold medal as the USSR ran down the floor and scored with no time remaining).


(1) Boston Celtics vs. (2) Detroit Pistons

ESPN/ABC's Mike Breen is considered by many to be the best play-by-play man in the league. His signature calls are "Bang!" and "Puts it In!" during pressure-filled circumstances. However, his most infamous descriptive words have come in various fights. When then-Knicks head coach Jeff Van Gundy was hanging on the leg of Alonzo Mourning in the 1999 playoffs, Breen was there. When Ron Artest and Stephen Jackson popped blood vessels during the "Malace at the Palace", Breen was there ("Artest is in the Stands!!!!!!").

Breen's colleagues are Van Gundy and Mark Jackson, an ex-point guard who is number two on the all-time assist list behind John Stockton. Jackson played for Van Gundy numerous times during his career and the two work fairly well together. They sometimes try too hard to get into arguments for entertainment, but their insight during in-game situations is comparable to that of Collins. Van Gundy is known for playfully insulting Jackson while Jackson is known for changing the subject. (Jackson is also well-known in the movie "Eddie" starting Whoopi Goldberg).

The tandem out West and the crowd in the East are doing a solid job. However, I give the upper hand to neither TNT nor ESPN due to the simple fact that TNT analyst and prophet Kevin Harlan is not working. Harlan also will not be calling the Finals due to ESPN/ABC's coverage of it. As I've stated in previous works, my loyalties lie with Harlan.