I write about entertainment matters for Vents. This usually means movies, TV, and music. Sometimes I write about YouTube shows. Sometimes I write about podcasts. What I haven’t written about much, though, is sports. Sports are entertainment, though. This is especially true when you are talking about sports as a TV product. These days, I’m watching a ton of sports. Specifically, the NHL and the NBA. I love those sports, but part of the viewing experience is the announcers. I’m spending hours a day with the announcers of the NHL and the NBA. I have opinions to give. Here are some thoughts on sports announcers. I’m sure some of you will enjoy them.
NBC has the NHL’s rights in the United States, and they do have some good announcers. I like all the play-by-play announcers they use, especially Doc Emrick. Some people seem to think he’s hokey, but I like him a lot. He’s enthusiastic, like Gus Johnson, but maybe a little less over the top than Johnson. I know Kenny Albert primarily from football, but he’s a good hockey announcer as well. Then, there’s the matter of the color commentators/analysts. That’s a different story.
NBC likes to always have somebody between the benches, even during the pandemic, and sometimes that person is the only commentator working alongside the announcer. There are also booth announcers. Ed Olczyk is the main guy there, and I’ve always found him just fine. The same goes for Mike Milbury, who can be a little of a gruff “old school” type, but he’s not as bad as similar baseball announcers. A.J. Mleczko, whose name is even harder to spell from memory than Olczyk, is quite good. At first, while she was knowledgeable she hadn’t quite found her “announcer’s voice” yet. She’s managed to figure that out. The main guy between the benches these days is Brian Boucher, a former goalie who is a good analyst. He’s probably my favorite. As for my least favorite? Well, let me get into that.
Pierre McGuire is so grating. He’s been part of NBC’s NHL production since the company got the rights to the league after the lost season due to a lockout. He’s a truly awful announcer. McGuire has players he loves and he talks about them hyperbolically. His analysis is awful and he says things that make no sense. The other day I heard him misspell “speed.” He also has terrible timing when it comes to his comments. McGuire is maybe my least-favorite announcer in all of sports right now. At least he’s the only announcer for NHL coverage I can’t stand, at least since Kendall Coyne Schofield hasn’t called a game yet (she just seemed raw, to be fair. McGuire has no excuse).
Unfortunately, the NBA is a different story. Again, ESPN and TNT both have strong play-by-play men. Mike Breen is great, and Kevin Harlan is solid. I don’t feel like I’ve heard Hubie Brown during coverage yet, but he’s good for ESPN. Doris Burke rules. She’s the best of all the basketball analysts that I’ve heard. Unfortunately, basically everybody else sucks. ESPN’s top analytical duo of Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson are terrible. Van Gundy just complains about everything. He makes points that make no sense. Jackson is a collection of terrible quips and bad analysis. Chris Webber for TNT is tolerable, but only just. Maybe that’s just because I’m comparing him to Reggie Miller. Miller is the absolute worst. He has no chemistry with anybody and he’s not funny, though he thinks he is. He kills everybody else’s jokes. I can’t stand Miller. I’d rather mute a game he’s calling.
Thank you for your time. If I’m being honest, I just wanted to complain about McGuire and Miller. I’ve hard to listen to them both so much the last couple of weeks. There’s a reason I find myself listening to a lot of podcasts during sporting events these days. It’s not ideal, because I miss out on info, but if it’s that or listening to McGuire yammer like an idiot, well, the choice is usually clear.