This past week I’ve been enjoying some of the old NBA all-star weekend highlights in the NBA's list of top 10 plays (on NBA.com).
1989 – This was an odd all-star game, as it was played in the Astrodome and it didn’t feature Bird or Magic, both out with injuries. It was insanely high scoring and up-tempo. John Stockton had 9 assists in the first quarter alone. It did include guys like Kevin Duckworth, Mark Eaton, Kareem in his last ASG, Terry Cummings, and Larry Nance. Sounds boring right? Well, fortunately Michael Jordan, Dominique Wilkins, Charles Barkley and Isiah Thomas showed up. Some of the plays featured at NBA.com include Isiah passing it off the backboard to Jordan for a dunk, Isiah throwing a 40 foot bounce pass to Jordan for a dunk, and a sequence of events (NBA.com doesn’t show the whole sequence, but does include the two plays from it in the top 10 plays) where Patrick Ewing rejects a two hand dunk attempt by Olajuwon, a jump ball is called (in West territory), and Isiah Thomas catches the tip off the jump – and in one motion immediately releases a downcourt pass over everyone’s head to Charles Barkley for a 2 handed dunk. Isiah might be the most entertaining all-star player ever.
I also recommend the ’92 game (includes Barkley knocking over Mutumbo with a left-handed dunk), ’88, ’98, ’90 and others. ’90 Includes Barkley stuffing Hakeem Olajuwon and Jordan dunking on David Robinson on the baseline, and it’s also the last ASG with Bird and Magic. Just great stuff for NBA fans of that era. I’ll try to watch most of the years when I get a chance. There’s a number of things to like about what NBA.com has done in compiling the list, such as seeing the old stars in their prime and hearing the great Hubie Brown/Dick Stockton calls from the late 80’s. That's what led me to write this post.
Part of what is great about watching any great highlights/moments in sports is hearing the original calls made by the broadcast team. Some examples:
“Do you believe in Miracles?”
“I don’t believe…what I just saw!”
“The Giants win the Pennant!”
“Annnd….now there’s a steal by Bird…underneath to DJ and he lays it in!”
Those are just a few off the top of my head.
So, why does ESPN insist on showing the old highlights in their “Greatest Highlight” segment with Chris Berman doing the call in 2008? Why do they bastardize these old clips like that? Is that the whole point of featuring him in this segment? Chris Berman sounds lame when he’s calling highlights LIVE….never mind him using contrived calls to capture the emotion of great sports moments that, in many cases, were perfectly captured by the original announcers, who were better than Berman and were actually feeling real emotion when they made the call. I just heard him “call” the Kirk Gibson homer in the 1988 World Series….it was awkward. He sounds like a guy at a broadcasting fantasy camp or something.
I guess my point is that I dislike Chris Berman.