Broadcaster of the Week: Eric Reid, Miami Heat
Posted Jan 17 2007 9:12AM
Eric Reid's NBA Journey
This is my 30th season working as a basketball broadcaster. I am in my 19th year with the Miami Heat, proud to be one of eight original employees, fortunate to still be there, to absorb and savor the franchises first NBA Championship one year ago and eighteen years in the waiting.
It has been an incredible ride, from an expansion team to a championship organization. For me, it was a journey that actually began a long, long time ago.
I saw my first football and basketball games from my baby carriage. My dad, Dave, was a passionate man who loved his family and his sports and he enjoyed all he could of both. At an early age I was watching, listening and enjoying the world of sports at his side.
By the time I was 12 years old, we had been to the 1968 AFL Championship game, Super Bowl 3 (Jets vs Colts) and Game 7 of the 1970 NBA Finals between the Knicks and Lakers. These were games to behold and we did.
Those moments and memories are still with me and helped mold me to be what and who I am today. I did not know how back then, but I knew I had to stay close to the games.
As a junior at Ithaca College I got confirmation.
It came in the form of a three-credit internship doing the color on the home games for Cornell University basketball radio broadcasts. I wound up working solo, doing play-by-play for two road games, at Syracuse and at Niagra. I rode the bus with the Big Red, called those games and loved it. I knew then for sure. I wanted work for a team and do basketball play by play.
And I have been ever since; for five years at Cornell, followed by six seasons at Providence College including a trip to the 1987 Final Four. Then in the fall of 1988, I was hired by the Miami Heat, as the color-analyst on the teams simulcast. I jumped into the NBA, as a 30-year-old-rookie, just in time for the Heat's inaugural season. It was a position I held for three years before moving to my more natural role of play-by-play before the 1991-92 NBA season, the year of the Heat's first playoff appearance.
Ron Rothstein was the teams first head coach, a role he's serving in right now, until Pat Riley returns. He helped me learn the NBA in those early years, when wins were scarce but the memories made, irreplaceable.
Tony Fiorentino, was one of his assistant coaches and one of my first NBA friends. For the last three years we have worked together on the Heat's telecasts, two Heat originals, still enjoying the games, our friendship and our unique relationship with the only NBA team we ever want to work for.
I have worked with six primary partners, all who taught me something; Sam Smith, Dave Wohl, Jack Ramsay, Ed Pinckney, Mike Fratello and now Tony. Dr. Jack and I worked 8 seasons together, did over 500 games and formed more than just a memorable partnership. Working with the "Czar" for two and a half years, was much the same, earning another great coach's respect and friendship.
As a professional basketball broadcaster, I am grounded by my belief in these things; Game preparation, passion, respect and knowledge of the game and all of its players, coaches and officials and of course, accurately telling the story of each game, night after night, year after year.
I have many favorite Heat players and more stories than space to share here. In the earliest days, Rony Seikaly and Sherman Douglas were my guys. I watched their college careers, while I was working in the Big East and enjoyed getting to know them both as they found professional success.
Alonzo Mourning and Tim Hardaway stood out as players and people on our hard-nosed and competitive teams of the late '90s, a group that had more playoff heartache than joy, with those three series losses, in deciding games all at home.
The Heat became championship contenders long before they won their crown. A championship organization begins at the top and began in Miami when Micky Arison took over as owner and brought in Pat Riley as his teams President, Coach and leader.
It was another dynamic duo that helped carry the Heat to their crowning moment. Dwyane Wade and Shaquille O'Neal, the two biggest stars and greatest players in Heat history, bonded as the NBA's best co-stars a year ago and delivered excitement, success and the ultimate prize, the NBA Championship.
That Championship experience was the greatest thrill of my three decades broadcasting basketball. It took on added meaning with the birth of my daughter, Dariel, last February. Ironically, she was born on my dad's birthday and was only 4 months old when she attended 5 of the 6 games in the NBA Finals and along with the rest of my family, rode in the Heat's incredible championship parade down Biscayne Boulevard.
My dad passed away 20 years ago, right after the 1987 Final 4 and just over a year before I made it to the NBA. I do believe, last June, somewhere up in Heaven, he was watching and enjoying all of it with us.
We now wear our beautiful Championship rings with great pride but it's not about the jewelry, it's the memories.
Eric Reid is the lone original member of the Miami HEAT broadcasting team and enters his 19th season of action with the HEAT. Reid has broadcast 1,320 regular season HEAT games during the franchise's first 18 seasons, having joined the organization just prior to the team's inaugural season in 1988-89. Reid reached a career milestone on March 15, 2002 when he worked his 1,000th regular season broadcast as Miami took on the Nets in New Jersey.
This is his 30th season broadcasting basketball and his 16th doing the play-by-play for the HEAT. Reid will describe the action for all regular season and postseason games carried on Sun Sports.