Real Madrid Unicaja Malaga Video: March Madness European Edition
Let's face it, Gus Johnson is becoming a cult hero among sports fans. His enthusiasm for his job resonates with his fans, usually in the form of screaming calls and wacky, improbable finishes that just seem to follow him around. You try naming another announcer that had a soundboard of his calls up for a few marvelous days and a Bill Simmons rule devoted entirely to him.
So, it's not out of the realm of possibility to suggest that other announcers might be taking a page out of the Gus Johnson playbook. Heck, it's not out of the realm of possibility that even the best might be starting to do it, considering that Joe Buck's voice sounded like it went through puberty again during the Packers' Super Bowl run back in January.
Then, there's this clip that's been making the rounds on the Internet today, discovered by ESPN's Chad Ford via Twitter. It's the last few possessions of a Euroleague game between Unicaja Malaga and Real Madrid that went to overtime featuring former Raptors forward/draft bust Jorge Garbajosa (unfortunately Rasho Nesterovic and Rafael Araujo were nowhere to be seen).
That's where we might've found the Spanish Gus Johnson. His voice rises with every remarkable play as both teams landed haymaker after haymaker, finishing with guard Terrell McIntyre's game-winning shot as time expired. And as he called the final few seconds, we saw many of Gus' most memorable calls played out in Spanish in the span of a few minutes.
There's the block by Garbajosa ("Here comes the pain!"), there's the Pablo Prigoni three to put Real Madrid ahead, then there's the Garbajosa three to pit Unicaja back ahead ("My name's Al Harrington, I make buckets!"). There's another three to put Madrid back ahead in the final seconds (which has to be the "OHHH!" moment of the clip).
Then there's the McIntyre three to win the game, and absolute pandemonium. This has everything: the excitement of Brandon Stokley's bobbled touchdown catch from 2009, coupled with the breathlessness of "Batista with the Catch!" from the Gonzaga vs. UCLA Sweet 16 match that almost sounded like he was losing it right there on the floor. There's even the patented cackle from the recent Garrard-to-Mike Thomas Hail Mary.
Either way, it's a great call. And while you like announcers to be restrained at times, you also want them to rise to the moment and be aware of the moment. If the moment calls for that, it's nice to see this announcer react accordingly.
Perhaps Simmons needs to extend the Law of Gus to Euroleague basketball.
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