I've noticed a trend in a lot of the Game Chats and a lot of dialogue amongst fans of the NBA.  It's in regards to the team that announces the game.  This usually consists of one play-by-play guy and one color guy.  While we're all spoiled with Celtics games with Mike and Tommy, there's a lot of terribleness that goes on for other games.

The way I see this, it should be broken out into 4 segments: National Telecasts and Local Telecasts (which us NBA League Pass people get plenty of), and then into Play-by-Play guy and Color Guy.
I figured it'd be appropriate to get a take on how others feel about the announcing.  (And for the record, a big shout-out to this blog (http://www.awfulannouncing.blogspot.com).  So the question is, which National play-by-play announcer do you just cringe at when you realize you're about to watch a game and he's announcing?  The guy that makes you say "Oh no, not this fucking guy" as soon as you see who's calling the game.

I could've added Dave Pasch or Mike Devlin, but those guys are really-rare.

As for my choice?  Well it's a dead give-away based on the picture used for this.  Stockton doesn't seem to do too many games anymore but he's been the most clueless person I've ever seen call a game.  Part of me thinks he's from another planet with how out-of-it he is.  Maybe he's too busy with thoughts on Leslie Visser.  Whatever it may be, I've never seen games botched like when he calls them.  If I see him doing the game, I immediately know there's going to be one mistake after the next.  Which is sort of a shame since he narrates those Celtics' 1980s Championship Videos really well.  I guess he's just not made for doing live broadcasting.

So who can't you stand and why?

tb727 3/17/2010 02:29:00 AM Edit
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28 Responses so far.

  1. JR says:

    If that picture gives anyone nightmares please send all hate mail to TB.

  2. Karl says:

    I think all of those guys are pretty good. What's so bad about them? Marv Albert is one of the best ever. I love Tommy but he is also the most biased color guy of all time. If he was announcing for another team you'd hate him. Whoever that Bucks announcing team was is probably the worst. I also don't like Jeff Van Gundy or Jon Barry but Mike Breen is good.

  3. In my mind, the broadcast team makes or breaks the game...

    I have been surprised to hear that Stockton gets so much flack for his play by play...

    He was terrific for CBS (grouped with Tommy) in the 80's. They loved the Celtics and used to annoy the snot out of Lakers fans.

    That chemistry never seemed to carry over when Tommy got booted from National TV broadcasts and was replaced by Billy Conningham. They had horrendous chemistry.

    Hubey Brown is my all-time favorite color commentator (not including Heinsohn) and, even he, could not bring Stockton back to the level of entertaining that Heinsohn did in the mid 80's.

    Stockton now does mainly NCAA for ESPN and he is pretty good there.

    My all-time hated play by play is BY FAR Mike Breen. He hates the Celtics and totally loves the NBA and the officials. He never disagrees with a call unless it goes against Kobe, LeBron or the Knicks. lol.

    I am tempted to start a "hate Van Gundy, Jackson and Breen" facebook page.

  4. tb727 says:

    Don't worry, color guys will be in the next poll so all the hating on Jon Barry, Mark Jackson, etc can commence.

    Karl have you ever actually listened to a Dick Stockton game? For the record he's apparently terrible at ALL sports:




  5. Karl Dillinger says:

    I like him in football. I guess I just don't care as much. It's a really tough job so I guess I appreciate the good ones more than I hate the bad ones. I agree Hubie Brown is great. If a person doesn't like him they shouldn't watch basketball.

    I also don't think you should hate a guy just because he talks about one team the most. You have to remember it's a business like anything else and people want to hear about certain teams and players more than others. ESPN talks about the Patriots all the time. How would you feel if you were a Lions fan or something.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I agree, Karl. Hubie Brown is good.

  7. JR says:

    I kid you not, but I actually did have a few pretty horrible nightmares. I totally blame that stockton pic... and in turn TB.

  8. ThomasJ says:

    The Stockton pic is horrifying to me. Growing up without a local team or all the cable games I depended on the national broadcasts with Stockton.

    I totally agree with Nick on Breen. I can't stand him. He adds NOTHING clever or insightful. Just generic bland crap until he decides to inject his opinion like on Nate's dunk the other night. He simply adds nothing, I would prefer hearing the PA guy than him.

    check out Breen's wiki page under Style/Breen quotables:


    nothing there that adds to a game, unless you never watched basketball before.

  9. tb727 says:

    So Thomas you voted for Breen over Stockton I presume?

  10. tb727 says:

    And actually Karl I disagree with you: I don't think it's a hard job at all- it's actually really easy. Have a clue about the game that's going on; familiarize yourself with the players, and if you don't watch much basketball try to learn about the rivalries of the game and which matchups in particular to keep an eye on, that will impact the game; don't announce the game like it's on radio! If you follow those rules, the rest is cream cheese!

    That's part of why I'm stunned Stockton's not running away with this. At least Breen seems knowledgeable about guys in the league.

  11. Karl says:

    Fair enough. If anyone ever says Gus Johnson sucks I will never speak to them again,haha. That guy is a legend.

  12. tb727 says:

    Gus Johnson the guy from the Knicks? I'd say he's awful too- too demonstrative and obnoxious. However I'm biased to an extent on that one since I detest the Knicks.

  13. Anonymous says:

    i can't stand that a hole doug collins

  14. tb727 says:

    Collins is coming, will be an option in the next segment...

  15. ThomasJ says:

    No TB I def voted for Stockton, he's the all-time for me. I totally agree with your description of him. I was just saying currently Breen is on my mind cuz we get a steady dose of him between ABC and ESPN

  16. tb727 says:

    Agreed Thomas J- and I think that's why the poll results look the way they do. Just wait until Stockton's back in the action when TNT has their 40 days in 40 nights. People will be demanding this poll come back up to change their vote lol!

  17. tb727 says:

    Dick Stockton story:

    After three days of miserable discussion about what had gone wrong with this team in Atlanta, the conversation after Game 5 felt like a parade over the phone. The man waited patiently for me to bring up his boys, taking the time in the interim to teach me of something previously left unmentioned -- his long-standing dislike of Dick Stockton. He was in rare form: "When this guy came into this business, it was fairly evident that he had left journalism school and hopped into the booth without ever playing in, watching, going to or reading about an NBA game in any capacity. The color guy would say something, and ten minutes later Stockton would regurgitate it. He didn't know anything about basketball. Did he call Tony Allen a tremendous offensive player tonight? And was he watching the game at all? There were at least three fouls that he called on Atlanta, which led me to wonder why the Hawks were presented with the ball immediately afterwards. One of those times, he corrected himself. On the other occasions? Not so much. I have to hand it to this guy; he's improved over the years. Thanks to that improvement, he's now reached the point where I'll settle for calling him an out-and-out moron."

    For a guy who usually couldn't be bothered to know what channel the game is on much less who the announcers are, to hear him thoroughly ripping a play-by-play guy was a rare treat. It was an absolute pleasure, and it put me in hysterics.

  18. tb727 says:

    Two more Stockton references:

    He was absolutely putrid last night, and claiming that the Cavs "stepped over the line" as opposed to committing a five-second violation was a fairly crucial late-game mistake, but my favorite was the following description of the Infuriated Infant flipping over Wally World and landing on his head:

    "Szczerbiak...taken down by Davis."

    Wally stood there. Upright. Davis wound up on the ground. Odd narration.

    Stockton and Fratello were riffing about the Cavs' colors. Fratello said that gold and wine were not the colors when he was coaching, and he went on to describe their colors at the time. Then Stockton takes note that Fratello did indeed coach the Cavs, then he mentions (paraphrasing, of course):

    "Bill Fitch coached the Cavs when their colors were gold and wine. And Fitch once coached the Celtics. So, there's a similarity there between you too." Fratello responded with dead silence. Nice moment.


  19. Dominique Wilkinson says:

    Where's John Barry??

  20. Karl says:

    Do you like anyone TB? Haha. Have a little fun.

  21. tb727 says:

    Yeah I'm personally fine with Mike Breen, Mark Jones, and Dan Shulman from that list (even though Shulman's a bit clueless at times, he tries and is improving). Tirico's an idiot, Harlan's kind of annoying, never cared for Marv and obviously Stockton's the Chris Wallace of announcers.

  22. Karl says:

    Bob Costas is my favorite announcer ever. I grew up watching him. Great idea for a article though as can be seen by all the comments.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Bob Costas is one of the WORST play by play guys ever- do some research on that one to see what the consenus is on him, especially since I don't personally mind him. He'd announced TV games like they were on the radio and he tries to announce like an intellectual. You're not talking to a Harvard audience, you're announcing a ballgame Bob.

  24. Lamar Scrotum says:

    Chick Hearn RuLES

  25. Don King says:

    Tirico, no question!

  26. Three Toe says:

    i like when jackson and gundy argue... but I hate Breen's former ref background. He'll never go anywhere though cause the NBA and the refs are always perfect in his eyes.

  27. tb727 says:

    Can't believe I'm about to admit this but Stockton tonight for the Denver-New Orleans game was fine. No fuck ups. I'm amazed. Of course I only caught about a quarter and a half.

    It was Reggie Miller saying "take that little man" when Carmelo scored over Posey inside. Wait Reggie Carmelo's 6'8 and Posey's 6'8. Maybe talking to Dick rubbed off on him.

  28. C3ltics18 says:

    Kevin Harlan has some of the best lines.

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