My Least Favorite NBA AnnouncerI am turning this post into an interactive quiz. I will list some things that my least favorite NBA announcer recently said and see how many readers can figure out who I am talking about; you can make your guesses in the comments section. My theory is that most people who closely follow the NBA will be able to pretty quickly figure out who is the subject of this post. Here are some of his "greatest hits":
1) Sometimes announcers have to "fill" (kill time) at the end of a show. The best announcers do this so well that you hardly even notice that they are doing it. This guy recently started killing time in the middle of a show--and actually said out loud that he was killing time, though it was not at all obvious why it should be necessary to do so at that point. For some inexplicable reason he informed viewers that virtually every member of his family was born in March, including his kindergarten girlfriend. When you run out of constructive things to say less than 15 minutes into a 30 minute show you might be in the wrong business. To be fair, some of the responsibility for this must also be shouldered by the producer and the director. Did they not have any meetings that day to discuss which basketball topics would be covered during the broadcast?
2) "In the history of the NBA, no 50 win team has never not made the playoffs." (I felt a vague sense of dizziness after hearing that one; to his credit, the announcer did immediately acknowledge that he might have thrown a few too many double negatives in there. Isn't that why scripts and teleprompters were invented?)
3) "Stan Van Gundy is one of those coaches, you impress me, you do what I want you to do in practice, you'll be playing." (Are there any coaches who do not play the players who do well in practice and instead elect to go with the players who practice poorly?)
4) Shortly after the above waste of airtime, the announcer tried to paraphrase something that Orlando guard Keyon Dooling told him about Coach Van Gundy: "We're trying to be professional because we know he'll call our perspective numbers." ("respective" is the correct word)
5) This announcer often makes mistakes regarding the nuts and bolts of his job: he consistently misidentifies players during highlights and he often appears to be incapable of accurately reading the boxscore data that his network displays on the TV screen for viewers to see. Sometimes he'll say that a game was played in a certain city but as soon as the highlight runs it is very obvious that the game was not played there. OK, maybe that could happen to anyone once or twice but it happens to him a lot. The pathetic thing is that this mistake is unnecessary in so many ways. If you are that confused about where games are being played, then don't try to give extra information; just read the scripted highlight package and be done with it. Yet, for some reason, this guy feels compelled to constantly try to show how much he thinks that he knows. At times, he turned "Making the Call With Ronnie Nunn"--a good series that the NBA should not have canceled--into an unintentional comedy show with his rambling introductions before highlights; he invariably was wrong about numerous details concerning the play in question. As the saying goes, it is better for people to think that you are a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt. He had the simplest job in the world--all he had to do is say, "Ronnie, this next play deals with the always tough block/charge call." Instead, we got something like, "This play features Motown's finest, Chauncey Billups going against the Milwaukee Bucks." Then the clip rolls and we find out that it was Lindsey Hunter going against the Celtics or something.
6) For a brief period, his favorite question was, "Is team x the kind of team that will be concerned whether they are up 10 or down 10 at halftime?" When he asked that question to the studio analysts they looked as perplexed as I am when I type those words. What the hell is he talking about? Instead of pondering before the game what one team might do if they are up 10 or down 10 by halftime why not ask the analysts about a key matchup or strategy that viewers should monitor during the game? Again, I fault the director and producer here as well, because by this point in time they should realize that their guy needs some help in terms of scripting good questions to ask the studio analysts. Leaving him to his own devices is like abandoning a blind person to cross a busy street without a guide dog or any form of assistance.
7) His favorite phrase is "in a big, big way." For example, he will say something like "Tim Duncan scored 31 points and that is getting it done in a big, big way." Maybe this actually goes back to example one and he is simply killing time because he has nothing informative to say. This is not the biggest broadcasting sin in the world, of course, but it does become annoying after a while, particularly in concert with the numerous gaffes that this guy makes.
I understand that being a TV or radio announcer is not easy; a director or producer is constantly talking in your ear, sometimes there are technical problems and if you are on the air live then you simply have to move forward no matter what. I also understand that even a great announcer will make mistakes now and then--but the above examples represent how this guy typically performs. He washed out at one big network but he has been given a lot of responsibilities by his current employer. My hope is that now that TNT has gained control over NBA TV that there will be a thinning out of the ranks and that we will see more of Ernie Johnson and less of the subject of this post.
posted by David Friedman @ 2:26 AM