Kings Q&A: Scott Moak
By: Alex Kramers
Entering his 12th season as “Voice of the Kings,” public address announcer Scott Moak – a die-hard Sacramento fan since childhood – can’t recall a more highly-anticipated contest than the 2013-14 “Purple-Out” Home Opener.
“I’m certain I’ve never looked forward to a game more,” says Moak of the Oct. 30 contest. “This is epic and historic. I know that sounds so full of hyperbole, but I truly feel that way.
“With all this positive momentum and energy culminating that night – with everything that’s happened leading up to it (and with) what it means to this region – it’s going to be the first night when people truly get a chance to exhale, be back together and just embrace the future and everything it holds. It’s like the most beautiful storylines coming together for a city that deserves it.”
In a recent Q&A with Kings.com, Moak – who in addition to hosting numerous team events, has emceed a press conference for the USA Basketball Men's National Team – reveals special opening night elements, reflects on his all-time favorite moments, players and more.
How would you characterize the excitement surrounding the upcoming Home Opener?
“I think everyone is like a kid during the holidays, waiting for the day they get to open presents or anticipating a birthday – that moment can’t get here soon enough. I feel like people are excited to see the preseason and they’re excited to see some of the fanfare that’s going to happen over the next couple of weeks, but ultimately, I think people are just so excited to get into their seats – hopefully get there early – and experience something that’s truly going to be nothing short of magical.”
What are some of the elements fans can expect that night?
“I think fans over the last 12 years that I’ve been doing this have experienced some pretty dynamic openers. On this one, the introduction sequence … is going to tie-in everything we’ve heard about what this ownership is interested in, from a tech-savvy perspective to embracing the story and savoring those moments of joy that we’ve had over the last several months to people who were instrumental in the story. (It’ll wrap) that all together and land on this moment where we get to meet the 2013-14 Kings for the first time and let them go to work on the court. From everything I’m hearing, it’s just going to be absolutely spectacular … it’s something people would regret if they didn’t experience, either (in attendance) or on TV.”
What are the keys to successfully announcing games and hosting events?
“Pronunciation is always the first key – I do pride myself on making sure I say the names right. On the game side, I try to just be a little bit more natural. I don’t have the awesome, deep, booming, probably more traditional voice like you’d hear in other arenas – my shtick is a little different. I’m part-yeller, part fan-gone-crazy – part of that is because I am a fan! At the end of the day, it’s trying to match where the vibe of the game is, where the crowd is and what’s happening, and just kind of settling into that little groove.
“Every game, usually mid-second quarter or sometimes in the third, I have this moment where (I think), ‘I can’t believe I get to do this! How lucky am I?’”
What have been some of your favorite memories throughout your Kings tenure?
“My first game as the Kings announcer was pretty awesome. I was a season ticket holder in Section 213, Row E, and I remember that very distinctly. The year I made the jump to courtside was pretty unbelievable. I’m a Sacramento kid – I was going to games when I was 12 years old, rooting on the Kings as they (faced) Kareem (Abdul-Jabbar), (Julius Erving) and Larry Bird.
“LeBron (James’) first game as a rookie was kind of cool, because he played the Kings in his first professional game.
“Mitch (Richmond’s) retirement, (Chris Webber) and Vlade (Divac) moments – those are things I definitely will never forget.
“Last year, with so much emotion at the end of the season, it’ll be hard to forget some of those games – the ‘Here We Buy’ game, ‘Here We Buy II’ – and so much of the grassroots effort that stepped up (to get) thousands of kids into a game who never would’ve had a chance to go. Where else does that happen?”
Who have been some of your favorite past and present Kings players?
“Looking back, ‘Webb’ was one of my favorites, just from raw talent and from a leadership (perspective). He was an All-Star, he should be a Hall of Famer and he was just amazing to watch that close. Vlade was so fun!
“Current day, I love Isaiah (Thomas) – he reminds me of Doug in many ways, being that floor leader, being the person who is willing and able to galvanize the support and attention of his teammates. Doug did that extremely well. I’ve never heard a more vocal, defensive-minded leader than Doug Christie on any team that has ever come through the arena – our team or visiting. It was artful to watch and listen to, and Isaiah has so many of those qualities.
“I will say I did develop a cool connection with Brad (Miller) and Mike (Bibby). I got to play slow-pitch softball a couple of summers in a row with Brad – he played first base and I played third. He’s just a normal country guy at the end of the day – he loves to hunt and to fish. (He) wanted to talk a little bit about sports, but mostly about life. That opened my eyes a little bit (to the fact) that these guys are normal people.
“Bibby and Bobby (Jackson) were out in the community a lot, so I feel I got to know Mike a little differently … he was one of the most gracious Kings I’ve ever met, from the perspective of doing things that he would never take credit for and never let people know about.”
How did you first get started in the public announcing field and ultimately land the opportunity to serve as P.A. voice of the Kings?
“When I was at UC Davis, I worked on the campus radio for a couple of years, doing football games with Eric Hasseltine. He worked for (KHTK) Sports 1140 for a while before getting the job as the radio play-by-play voice of the Memphis Grizzlies. That was my first foray into that world. When I came back home to Sacramento after I graduated, my dad – who’s the athletic director at Kennedy High School – needed an announcer for football and basketball. I started doing his games, and after that, it was just one thing after another. I (announced) American River College girls basketball, and football, then Sac State games and Sacramento Knights for a season.
“The Kings had an open tryout in 2000, a couple of years after the passing of the longtime (P.A. announcer), Fred Anderson. (Many) of my closest friends tried out, including Carmichael Dave and Eric Hasseltine. (The Kings) narrowed it down to four people, and I think we all got to announce a half of a preseason game. I actually didn’t get the job (but) I stayed close and available. Two years later, they called back and asked if I’d be willing to come in and try it again. I did a couple of games in the preseason in 2002 and I’ve been doing it ever since.”
In addition to in-game experiences, how much have you enjoyed interacting with Kings fans via Twitter?
“I’ve been learning … and I’ve been able to use it as a tool to connect with people I love and respect most, which is the Sixth Man – the fans. They are super passionate and they say and do some really fun and clever things over social networks. It’s a blast!
“I think they (are always amazed) when I’m able to Tweet in-game. Now that I’ve settled in a little bit, I get to interact with people while the game is happening, answer questions and Tweet out the attendance. It just adds to the experience I think now fans look for and expect. From that perspective, look out because with our ownership, the vision they have and what they want to do with technology and social networking, the sky is definitely the limit. I think it’s only going to get more fun, exciting and innovative as we move forward, and I am so ready for it.”