There is no doubt about it, going to a live NBA game is an amazing experience. There is something magical about being in the stadium and watching the action unfold with 18,000 fellow fans cheering along with you.
With that said, there is also something magical about watching a live NBA game on television. One of the keys to making the experience enjoyable is the skill of the play-by-play announcer and the color commentator calling the game.
Topping my list of the greatest NBA play-by-play announcers would be Marv Albert, Mike Breen, and Bob Costas. They’re the ones guiding the telecast.
As far as color commentators go, my all-time favorite was Bill Walton. He was a wild card. You never knew what he was going to say, but it was usually either incredibly controversial or incredibly insightful. Often times, it was both.
I equate Walton’s work as an NBA commentator to the tenure of Jesse ‘The Body’ Ventura as a WWE color commentator. Like Ventura, Walton wasn’t afraid to root for the bad guy.
What’s really amazing about Walton’s career as a broadcaster is that up until the age of 28, he had a terrible stutter and avoided talking as much as possible. Walton credits his journey to speak without stuttering to inspirational words he received from Hall of Fame broadcaster Marty Glickman.
Walton hasn’t been on national NBA games since 2009. In my opinion, his presence is sorely missed. The national coverage teams are all capable commentators. None of them, however, add to the fun the way Walton did.
That’s the national broadcast scene. In terms of local market talent, you really can’t get any better than Chicago Bulls color commentator, Stacey King. King was one of the key contributors for the Chicago Bulls during the consecutive championships in 1991, 1992, and 1993. I always said that if only he did steroids, he’d have the rage and aggression to be legendary.
After retiring from playing in the NBA in 1997, Stacey played overseas for a few years. In 2001, Stacey took a job as the head coach of the CBA Rockford Lightning. The CBA, or Continental Basketball Association, was the prominent minor league basketball organization before the NBA formed the G-League.
Stacey took the team to the championship game in 2002. For the 2002-2003 season, King coached the Sioux Falls Skyforce. He showed a real understanding of the game. His basketball IQ is off the charts.
Stacey rejoined the Chicago Bulls family as a studio analyst for television pre- and post-game shows in 2006. Bulls icon Johnny ‘Red’ Kerr had been a staple of the Bulls commentating team for as long as I can remember, but he was getting up there in age. Stacey was groomed to take over for Kerr, joining the play-by-play team in 2007.
Stacey is fun to listen too. He understands the game and is very articulate in explaining the nuances to the listeners. I am constantly learning things about the game that I didn’t know before.
He also has a quick wit. Some of the one liners that he comes up with have me and my friends dying of laughter. And, he is a master when it comes to catch phrases.
I feel very lucky to live in a market that has Stacey and his broadcast partner, Adam Amin, offering their play-by-play of the NBA games. Unfortunately, the Bulls haven’t been to the playoffs since 2017. Stacey has kept the broadcasts entertaining even during the lean years. Although Amin is a new broadcast partner for King, they gel really well together. I enjoy both of them and hope to see this broadcast team together for the long haul.
Now, after some free agent action and trades, Bulls fans have a team we can expect to go deep into the playoffs. Honestly, they are two pieces away from contending for the title.
To be in the mix for the title this year, the Bulls need two big men – one who can play power forward and one that can back up the center and power forward spots. They don’t have to be all-stars. They just have to be capable. A journeyman like Thaddeus Young or a rapidly developing player like Alperen Sengun would work well.
It’s rather ironic that the Bulls current need to be a championship contender is the need Stacey filled for the Bulls in the early 1990s. As active as the Bulls front office has been, I think that we should not rule out seeing executive vice president of basketball operations, Artūras Karnišovas, and general manager, Marc Eversley, continue to shop for pieces to make a title run.
Whether the Bulls acquire the pieces they need to battle for a title remains to be seen, but having Stacey King and Adam Amin provide play-by-play will make it a fun run, no matter what. Stacey King it the best in the business.
If you want to support Stacey’s new hot sauce brand or listen to his entertaining podcast, visit: www.GimmeTheHotSauce.com.
Peace. Love. Trust.
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