Broadcaster of the Week: Sean Grande
Posted Dec 1 2006 3:51PM
A year before my father died, he passed on to me the greatest lesson Iíve ever learned.
ďFind a job you love, and youíll always be happy.Ē
Of course he also told me that year I wouldnít need braces, and that Walter Mondale had ďa real shotĒ in the fall. So, you know, just to clarify, not Nostradamus or anything my Dad, but the job thing he nailed on the head.
Fifteen years later, Iím on like my fourth day at my new job, television voice of the Minnesota Timberwolves when I look across the court and see Chick Hearn, the living legend four-decade voice of the LA Lakers (and Fletchís Laker daydreams as well), and my first split-second, instinctive reaction was; ďWow, thatís Chick Hearn over there, I wonder what heís doing here.Ē
Until the voice in my head answered a few seconds later.
ďThe same thing youíre supposed to be doing, you moron, get to work.Ē
Now all of us, the guys you see and hear during the games, we all got started the same way.
I mean we didnít, but we basically did if you know what Iím saying.
See, there are always two events. The first is pure magic. Itís that anonymous night, somewhere with a walkman and an AM radio signal transmitting this wonderful sound. A game, a real live game, somewhere far away was being brought into a headset. You could close your eyes and picture Dr. J or Magic lighting it up. Imagine what the arena looked like, picture the colors of the uniforms, all of it. And it felt like that voice in your ears was a friend, telling you a story. That moment, that first moment is usually enough to call you to a lifetime of play-by-play.
The second is the somewhat less magical moment, whether it be on the playground, in high school or at summer camp, that seminal moment when it finally sinks in that playing in the NBA? Not really an option. (Turns out you can dish out a million assists and make almost all of your free throws, youíre still going to have to hit a jump shot once in a while. Whatever ... Iím over it)
I was asked in an e-mail recently if the job has changed at all in the nine years Iíve been doing it. And I think the biggest change is how we go about it now. The information thatís just a click or two away for you here on NBA.com, used to be much harder to come by. Now, thereís simply so much available, the hardest part is staying ahead of the curve. Which can get confusing sometimes.
See, the information revolution has brought us a smaller world than we could possibly have fathomed a generation ago, the miracle of true global communication. Not to mention Brian Skinnerís career free-throw percentage on Tuesday nights against Midwest Division opponents. But itís also brought us Paris Hilton gossip, Nick Nolteís mug shot and sports talk radio.
Not exactly nutrition for the mind.
A lot of it, really, is just noise.
I like the noise sometimes, donít get me wrong. But amidst all its increasing negativity, sensationalism and scandal, the kind it feeds upon and revels in, itís become all too easy to forget the one truth that beats deep within the play-by-play heart.
The gameís the thing.
You can fill the other 21 hours of the day But the three hours when the ball is in the air, are the ones that will always matter the most. In play-by-play, you examine controversy, you revel in the game. Not the other way around.
As I write this, Iím on the Celtics team flight to Toronto. Friday night, the 5-10 Raptors host the 5-9 Celtics. And Iím legitimately pumped for it. Why? Because sports was Reality TV long before the worm turned, and was subsequently eaten on Fear Factor.
Every night in the NBA poses, then answers more questions than the Game Show Channel. Can either of these teams rebound from a rough November and hang with the Nets in the Atlantic for the full 82? Will Chris Bosh once again get the better of Kendrick Perkins, as he did in the Texas State High School Tournament five years ago.? Will Morris Petersonís mystical hold over the Cís continue, even now that heís been relegated to the bench? Will TJ Ford and Sebastian Telfair orchestrate track meets, or slow the pace?
Plus two national anthems for the price of one. I mean, whatís better than that?
These are the stories Friday night, and Iím fortunate enough to get to tell them.
Just as all my colleagues around the league do every night. From the great Brian Wheeler in Portland. To my friend Jerry Schemmel in Denver, who walked away from the Sioux City plane crash in 1989 to fulfill his dream. To Ralph Lawler in LA, Mike Gorman in Boston, Hot Rod with the Jazz and Marv with the Nets whoíve been doing this since before I was even wearing the aforementioned braces. (Nice call, Dad.)
And the best thing about our jobs is that we get to share our love of calling the games and telling the stories, with you.
And if youíre here on NBA.com, whether itís checking how many steals Leandro Barbosa got for your fantasy team last night, voting for the all-star team or clicking on the broadcasters page, no doubt you love the games as well.
Itís cool, youíre among friends.
Considered one of the nation's premier young sportscasters, Sean Grande is currently in his ninth season in the NBA and sixth as the voice of the Boston Celtics. Prior to landing in Boston, Sean spent three seasons with the Minnesota Timberwolves where he earned the distinction of being the youngest announcer in the League at the age of 28. In addition to his NBA pedigree, Sean has announced everything from the NHL to college football, basketball and hockey, earning an Emmy in 1999 for his play-by-play work during the NCAA hockey tournament, and over the last four years serving as the "Voice of the Frozen Four" on Westwood One.