While there are many quality broadcasting play-by-play commentators, color analysts and sideline reporters, some stand out more than others. Over the next few weeks, KCOU Sports’ Ben Krakow will be highlighting some of his favorites across several sports, continuing this week with the best of the NBA.
Play by Play (no order):
- Mike Breen – The longtime top ESPN NBA play-by-play announcer, who also is known for his work on New York Knicks games, is the best of the best. A classic announcing voice with a great delivery, everyone looks forward to call of “bang!” after a big shot in a game. He keeps the conversation flowing with his color analysts and knows what moments call for him to peak his voice during a game. He has become the voice of the finals and is always prepared even with his busy travel schedule during the season.
- Kevin Harlan – Harlan does a variety of sports, including the NFL and college basketball, but perhaps he is best known for his work on TNT broadcasting the NBA alongside Reggie Miller. Miller and Harlan form a great duo and the chemistry between the two is excellent as they have been working together doing both the NBA and the NCAA Tournament together for a long time. It is hard to find an announcer like Harlan who always sounds excited to be broadcasting each game on his schedule. This extremely tough to do as Harlan is constantly traveling across the country to broadcast different games on both TV and radio. A big dunk or block in a game Harlan broadcasts gives the viewer a peak Kevin Harlan call.
- Brian Anderson – Many associate Anderson with his broadcasts of Milwaukee Brewers baseball during the MLB regular season and playoff baseball on TBS, but Anderson also works the NCAA Tournament and NBA games for Turner. Anderson is a really solid pro who works well with anyone he works with. He is well prepared and has a great delivery that informs the viewer. He worked a lot of NBA games last year particularly in the playoffs with Kevin McHale. They formed an stellar duo that really educated the viewer.
Color Analysts (no order):
- Jeff Van Gundy – The former NBA head coach has made himself a media star with his work as an announcer on the top ESPN NBA team. Often paired with Breen and Mark Jackson, Van Gundy is as honest as they come. He’s not afraid to call anyone out from players to referees to the NBA league office. Van Gundy adds some dry humor to the broadcast and makes even blowout games worth listening to for viewers.
- Hubie Brown – A legend in the broadcasting business, Brown just signed a contract extension with ESPN at the age of 85. As respected as they come, Brown educates and informs viewers like no one else. The “old ball coach” in him often comes out during his broadcasts, and he is not afraid to talk or express his opinion. If he thinks a coach should call a timeout or make a substitution, he’ll let the viewers know. Everyone learns something from a Hubie Brown broadcast regardless of their knowledge of the basketball.
- Doris Burke – Now doing NBA full-time for ESPN after broadcasting men’s and women’s college basketball for years, Burke continues to move up as a broadcaster. Burke is very versatile as both a color analyst (most of the season) and a sideline reporter (during the conference finals and NBA finals). She has earned great respect across the game often receiving hugs and well wishes before games from NBA stars such as LeBron James. You can tell how much respect the players and coaches have for her in her interviews. Nobody blows her off or answers in just a couple of words. They often address her by name. Her analysis is terrific and she does an excellent job of breaking down the game and specific plays. Many expect that she may become the color analyst for the NBA Finals one day.
Edited by Garrett Jones | firstname.lastname@example.org