Vipers Announcer to Join Rockets Broadcast

February 23, 2009

HIDALGO, TEXAS - The NBA D-League Rio Grande Valley Vipers announced today that Director of Broadcasting Alex Del Barrio will join Houston Rockets play-by-play voice Craig Ackerman at the beginning of the second quarter of Tuesday’s 7:30 p.m. Rockets game against the Portland Trail Blazers.

“It’s a dream come true, to be a part of a Houston Rockets broadcast, being a lifelong Rockets fans. I listened to Gene Peterson and Jim Foley for years, and always try to emulate them in some way during my broadcasts. It seems only fitting that I make my big league debut on the Rockets radio network,” Del Barrio said.

The game can be heard locally on the flagship station for Vipers basketball, ESPN 1240 AM, also a part of the Rockets radio network.

“We, the Rockets, have a great relationship with the Vipers and I’m looking forward to Alex’s contribution to the broadcast Tuesday,” Ackerman said.

“I think the thing people need to remember is that that D-League is about development, and that doesn’t just mean players,” President and General Manager Brian Michael Cooper said.

In a related move, Vipers radio color commentator Jonah Goldberg will fill in for Del Barrio on Thursday. Goldberg will host the Coach’s Show at 5:00 p.m. live from Dodge Arena and then he will call the play-by-play of the 7:00 p.m. against the Fort Wayne Mad Ants.

“I am thrilled for this opportunity. Play-by-play is my dream career and to get this chance excites me to no end,” said Goldberg, who also serves as the Vipers Director of Communications.

“Jonah has certainly earned the opportunity to work a game on his own. He’s been a dedicated part of the broadcast team since our inaugural season, and I think it’s fitting that the week of my opportunity is when Jonah earns his,” Del Barrio said.

Goldberg also provided the play-by-play for the Vipers 104-100 win at Tulsa on January 16th. That win broke a six-game losing streak. The Vipers are currently riding a six-game losing streak.

The Rio Grande Valley Vipers are a professional basketball team in the NBA Development League (NBA D-League). The NBA Development League, founded in 2001, is the NBA’s official minor league and features 16 teams with direct affiliations to NBA teams. The league has produced 15 percent of the players on 2007-08 end-of-season NBA rosters and continues to develop current NBA coaches and referees. In fostering the league’s connection to the community, its teams, players and staff promote youth basketball, support local needs and interests, and assist in educational development through NBA D-League Cares programs. The NBA D-League also advances the game of basketball as the research and development arm of the NBA. Throughout this season fans can watch all NBA D-League games on NBA Futurecast, the free live Web-streaming initiative found at nba.com/futurecast. The Vipers NBA affiliates are the Houston Rockets, and the New Orleans Hornets.