BY ANTHONY ALFORD
For TNT’s broadcast of the NBA game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Golden State Warriors, TNT used three analysts and no play-by-play announcer. This marked the first time in NBA history a broadcast team did not include a play-by-play announcer. Steve Kerr, Reggie Miller, and Chris Webber were on the call.
It could have been a train-wreck, but proved to be an effective line-up.
There were quite a few positives about this broadcast. First, more people watched an otherwise meaningless regular season game and TNT became “trending” topic on Twitter. Fans showed interest in this style of broadcasting because nobody has ever done it. The broadcasting team also had great chemistry from having worked together on NBA TV’s “Open Court.” Despite the game becoming a blowout in the second half, the broadcast team kept it conversational, like three friends at a bar talking about the game.
However, there were some major drawbacks. Because there was no traditional play-by-play person, there was hardly any mention of stats or relevant context to how the game was progressing.
This is not the first time a network tried a non-traditional sportscast. In December 1980, NBC aired an NFL telecast with no announcers. While this was different and interesting, it was insulting to the sports broadcasting profession because, as Dick Enberg said, “We’re paid to talk.” In my opinion, NBC’s experiment was meant to kill an entire profession unlike the TNT experiment.I believe it is OK to do something different for telecasts as long as the experiments are not at the expense of the profession. TNT could do this again in the future, but America will be fine with Marv Albert and Kevin Harlan calling NBA games.