Have you ever had those restless nights where you lie in bed wanting to fall asleep but you can’t because your mind can’t stop thinking about who the Gus Johnson of the NBA is or if Tim Duncan was a basketball analyst who he’d be? Ya, me too. Someone once told me that if you want to fall asleep that you should write down what’s on your mind and after that you’ll be sound asleep like Manny Pacquiao after his fight with Juan Manuel Marquez. Well I decided to write down what was on my mind so here’s some NBA players and the announcer/analyst that I think best represents them.
Dr. Jack Ramsey is the Kurt Thomas of Basketball Analysts
Dr. Jack is a legendary coach who led the Portland Trailblazers to the NBA title in 1977. So in what way is Dr. Jack anything like Kurt Thomas? Well, if you guessed their love of Westside Connection, Daz Dillinger, and Nate Dogg you’re close. Actually, they hold the distinction of being the oldest at what they do. Dr. Jack will be 88 years old next month and is still doing a solid job calling NBA games. If I make it to 88, I probably won’t even remember what color a basketball is, much less providing color for an NBA game.
Kurt Thomas is currently the Methuselah of the NBA’s at 40 years old. He beat out Grant Hill by one day to retain that title. He was a part of the 1995 draft class that featured some real studs such as Bryant “Big Country” Reeves, George Zidek, and Jason Caffey. Thomas, however, has had a solid career playing for 8 teams and making over $65 million. Not too bad for a guy who has averaged almost as many fouls per game as he does points per game the past few seasons.
Mike Tirico is the Tim Duncan of Basketball Announcers
Mike Tirico and Tim Duncan are a perfect match for this list. They’re not the flashiest at what they do, but both of them are incredibly skilled and successful at their profession. Tirico, like Duncan, is a “jack of all trades” broadcaster. The guy does Monday Night Football, the NBA, golf, tennis, and has done a radio show. If ESPN or ABC are ever doing an important game of some kind, I hope Tirico is calling that game. Similarly, The Big Fundamental does everything well including: playing the post, rebounding, passing, and even shooting free throws at a 70% clip. Duncan’s four NBA titles are indicative of his talents, and he should go down as one of the ten best players in NBA history.
Dick Vitale is the Shaquille O’Neal of Basketball Announcers
Now you might think, what could to correlation be between these two? One is a short, balding white guy with one eye and the other is a 7’0” 3??lbs. black guy who sounds like Barry White. Well, to be honest, the answer is I can’t stand listening to either of them. Vitale is an ESPN institution, whose act has run its course. How many times can I hear him say, “Awesome Baybeeeee” or “Super, Scintillating, Sensational, Duke”, or the ever popular, “OOOOOOOOHHHHHHHH” over and over? You can guarantee, if I’m ever watching a game and I see Dick is announcing or plugging his latest book, the volume is on mute.
As for Shaq, I think I’d rather see him in the sequel to Kazaam than acting as an analyst or commentator. The player formerly known as Neon Boudeaux brings nothing to the table, unless you want to know where the best buffet is any NBA city. This guy not only wreaked havoc on locker room chemistry, but he’s now doing it in the TV studio. It’s sad to say, but I think he twice as good a rapper as he is an analyst. This video should be shown to prisoners at Guantanamo Bay as torture as opposed to waterboarding.
Gus Johnson is the Blake Griffin of Basketball Announcers
There are likely no two individuals better paired to be more excitable and sometimes over-the-top. Now, don’t get me wrong, I like Gus Johnson. His sayings like, “rise and fire…BANG” and “Cold-Blooded” make for some exciting moments during a game. He did a phenomenal job calling one of the best college basketball games I’ve seen in recent memory, even though my team came out on the losing end. Johnson even admitted it was the best game he’s ever called. However, at times, I think his calls are a little over-the-top. I wonder if it’s necessary to get that excited for a Jerome James layup in the first quarter of a Knicks game.
As a member of Lob City, Blake Griffin is one of the league’s most exciting players. His dunks routinely make the highlight reels, and he has helped the Clippers become one of the best teams in the NBA. Despite his talent, his stat sheet shows he has regressed since his rookie campaign. His PPG and RPG average has dropped each season and he is slightly better than Dwight Howard from the FT line. A solid player, absolutely, but perhaps all of the hype is a tad too premature.
Tommy Heinsohn is the Paul Pierce of Basketball Analysts
Now, many of you outside of Boston may not know Tommy Heinsohn, but for those who do, you’ll know what I mean. No two individuals whine more and complain about the officials than Heinsohn and Pierce. Heinsohn is a Hall of Fame player and coach of the Boston Celtics. He won 8 titles with the Celts in the 50s and 60s and then coached two more championship teams in the 70s. Since the early 80s, he has done Celtics games on television and complained about the officiating in every one of those games. Maybe it’s Tommy’s scotch or Marlboros during the broadcasts, but I don’t think he has claimed to witness a legitimate foul called on the Celtics since, well…ever (Exhibit A).
As for Paul Pierce, there is no question he is a first ballot NBA Hall of Famer five years after he hangs ‘em up. However, he has been described as one of the worst actors and whiniest players in the NBA. He could probably give Meryl Streep acting lessons. You might recall game one of the 2008 NBA finals, where Pierce was taken off of the floor in a wheelchair after a knee injury only to return five minutes later like nothing was wrong. You aren’t supposed to laugh at people in a wheelchair but in the case of Paul Pierce that shit was hilarious. Even the analysts on TNT knew he was playing it up. On top of that, you won’t see a player throw up his hands or scrunch his face more after a whistle than Pierce. I’m pretty certain that Pierce believes he hasn’t committed a foul since 2002.
Marv Albert is the Kobe Bryant of Basketball Announcers
Have you tried to guess the parallel I’m attempting to draw here? If you guessed sexual proclivity, you’re on the right track. Marv and Kobe have had their run-ins with the law involving forcing women into certain sexual acts. That being said, the more honest answer is that they are the old school legends. Marv has been doing NBA basketball for over 40 years. During that time, he has graced our sports-loving society with many memorable calls of “YES!” over the years, not to mention gifting the sports-loving public with his son Kenny Albert. I’m fairly certain that every memorable bucket Michael Jordan scored in his playoff career included a signature “YES!” And who could forget this gem?
Like Marv, Kobe has provided the basketball loving public with numerous unforgettable moments. When he’s not making homophobic slurs towards officials, he is setting records like scoring 81 points in a game, winning 5 NBA titles, and making 14 All-Star appearances. Even in his 16th season, Kobe is leading the league in scoring at 30ppg. Despite their greatness, as time moves along a new generation of broadcaster and player is emerging. For many years, Kobe and Marv were the gold standard in their respective industries and their greatness will never be questioned. But now there is a pair that is ready to supplant them as the best in the business.
Steve Kerr is the Lebron James of Basketball Analysts
That brings us to Steve Kerr and Lebron James. In my mind, the torch has been passed. All basketball fans will never forget the accomplishments of Kobe and Marv, but the next generation of analyst and player has arrived. Steve Kerr is the best basketball analyst going. Having been an NBA player for 15 seasons and a GM with the Phoenix Suns, he has a wealth of knowledge on many aspects of the game. This guy has done it all, including hitting the series clinching basket in the ’97 NBA Finals. Not to mention, he even got knocked out by Michael Jordan in practice because he was missing shots in a pickup game. Plus, he has a great sense of humor and knows how to handle moments of excitement. Not only has he excelled at being an NBA analyst, he is now moving over to do college basketball, as well.
As for Lebron James, I don’t think that there is much of an argument that he is the best basketball player in the world. He does everything on the court well and his athleticism is uncanny. He may be hated due to the way he exited Cleveland in 2010 and the way he brands himself, but whether you hate him or not, his game is undeniable. After attaining his first of 8 promised NBA titles, he has plenty to live up to, but if anyone has the skills needed to get there he does. If I have the opportunity to see him play, you better believe I’m watching.
-This was written by Kevin Mack enthusiast and Damon Jones disciple Aaron Senich.