Meet the Pelicans broadcasters: John DeShazier
All five members of the New Orleans Pelicans broadcast team appeared last Tuesday’s edition of the Black and Blue Report. We are re-running the interviews this week. Today: John DeShazier, radio analyst for New Orleans Pelicans.
Sean Kelley: You’ve been around here a long time, mostly in a newspaper role, but you’ve been around here enough to where most people view you as a local. You’re a Georgia boy, I know that, but you are in all regards a New Orleanian. You are originally from Macon, Georgia, right?
John DeShazier: Macon, Georgia. M-a-c-o-n, folks and (our) famous hockey team, the Macon Whoopees. Born and raised there. Didn’t move here until 1992. I guess a lot of people like to think I’m New Orleanized…is that word? New Orleanized? But no, I still have family there and still get a chance to go home. I don’t get the chance to go home as much as I would like, but I’m here. I came here for the job at The Times-Picayune in ’92 and have seen and heard much through sports. I’ve been really blessed to kind of not work for a living because covering sports is almost like not working. It’s almost like a hobby. To be able to get paid for it and go to games, it’s hard to beat that. I hope no former or current or future bosses of mine are listening because I would still like to get paid. Don’t take that too serious, but I’ve had a great time doing it. Like I said, I’ve been here a long time and was able to move over to the radio and do a little Pelicans/Hornets last year and team up with a guy who I had seen around for a little while. Folks, I had seen (Sean) Kelley around but I didn’t know exactly what he did. I mean I knew, but I didn’t know, and maybe the same thing for him. We had kind of seen each other from afar, and you respect the guy’s work but you don’t really know how hard he works at it or whether he’s actually any good at it until you actually get a chance to work with him, and (I) found out that the guy works pretty hard I guess, all things considered.”
SK: All things considered. I was always afraid to kind of go around him because I didn’t want to do something stupid and then end up in his well-read column at The Times-Picayune.
JD: Yeah that was my thing, man. I’ve always considered having a column being the best job at the paper, really, because - 1. You get to go to the games and you get paid for that, and that’s all wonderful, but you get to go to the event and give your opinion. A lot of guys are kind of hamstrung. If you’re a beat writer, it’s kind of the who/what/where and you want to stick to the facts and those things, but as a columnist, you get to express your opinion. If a guy stinks, you get to say a guy stinks. That’s your opinion. If a guy plays well, you get to say all of those things. That’s your opinion. Every now and then you’ll get into a bit of a tiff with a coach or an athlete or a parent or somebody of that nature, but I’ve always just considered it the best job at the paper, man. Just being able to go somewhere and express your opinion just like you’re sitting on a barstool, or we’re sitting here, or you’re in a guy’s living room and you’re debating back and forth. Well, it’s kind of a one-sided debate where you get to say your side and nobody really gets to argue with you at that time. I always tried to balance it out when I was doing that, and to go to radio from that, after doing that for 20 years, was really kind of a culture shock. No more deadlines persay. And to not be able to really – I guess it’s a different kind of critiquing when you’re working for an organization. You can’t like to people. People know what the product is and what it looks like; you’ve got to be genuine. It’s a different type of critiquing. I think it’s a constructive critique as opposed to what I did at the paper. As I looked back on it, there were some times where it could have been a little bit rough, and those are the times that lead people to not say nice things to you and not send you nice emails. It was great doing it, I had a great time.
SK: It’s been a very popular question for me here, out and about the last few weeks because folks have heard me do some of the Pelicans preseason games solo. The question is: What happened to John? You guys got it going last year, that was your first year together, so what happened? So I guess I should explain that as we’re on this learn about the broadcast Black&Blue Report. John’s primary responsibility now is the senior writer for NewOrleansSaints.com. With that being said, John will still be on the Pelicans radio broadcast, it just will be…what’s the safest way to put this?
JD: It’s a, not part time, maybe diminished capacity. When you’re saying diminished capacity, you’re talking about a person’s mental state though generally, huh? I am of diminished capacity there too, but it will be in a reduced role. How about that?
SK: Well your primary responsibility is New Orleans Saints.
JD: Yes. My secondary is the Pelicans. So I won’t be doing every game or as many games, but I will be doing a majority and a good chunk of it. Hoops always was and will remain my main sports love. I thought we had pretty good chemistry doing it last year and hopefully I didn’t embarrass you or myself or my family now that I think about it, as I did it. It’ll be fun doing it, especially covering a young team that looks like the sky is the limit. I’ve been telling everybody who would listen that I think this is a playoff team. Maybe not a one or a two seed, but I think this is a playoff-caliber team. I think they will earn and deserve any amount of following they can get in the arena and on the radio or online or wherever else they can get it because I think it’s going to be a really exciting time around New Orleans for basketball.
SK: Alright so a writer, a columnist, a broadcaster, now on the digital media side with the New Orleans Saints…
JD: And a singer…I’m sorry. Not a singer as you can tell.
SK: That’s fair, but you do sing in church. You’re not afraid to sing in church.
JD: Well we all need to get our joyful noise in. It doesn’t matter how bad you sing in church because you’re singing for the Lord and nobody cares.
SK: That’s true. John is heavily involved with his church. He’s also heavily involved with various endeavors around town, one of the most generous people I know. What other than that? What does John Deshazier like to do? Not that you have a lot of free time these days, but do you fish? Do you hunt? Do you play golf? What do you do? What’s your thing to get away from here?
JD: Well, see, I don’t fish, hunt, or golf because I don’t do anything that I could drink more than actually do the activity because my whole purpose is to have the activity. Outside of getting away and really leisure time, I’ll travel some. I enjoy not NBA road trips where you’re in and out, but actually getting away for a week or a couple of weeks. But really, I don’t do a whole lot now that I think about it. I don’t do the general get away from it all kind of thing, you know? I’ve had friends try to talk me into playing golf for a million years. I just can’t see myself doing it. I just can’t. Now, I will still pick up a basketball and shoot some hoop every now and then. As Kelley can attest, all of us still have a decent hook shot when we’re allowed to toss it. But that’s a whole different thing for a different day. I’ll still pick up the rock. My son, I won’t play him anymore because he’s probably at the point now where he could beat me, and so I retired undefeated with him. But if you’ve got a son or a daughter or anything that’s like under 8 that wants to challenge me, I’m all for backing them down and taking them to the rack now. Don’t get me wrong, because I don’t take that kind of pity. So bring ‘em on.
SK: A win is a win is a win. I hope that answered a question that a lot of people have asked me about John as far as where he is on the broadcast and how that will all shake out. So again, John is going nowhere. He will be with us the majority of the basketball games. Just know that his priority is the New Orleans Saints side at the moment. So, for example, John will be on the broadcast tomorrow night when we open the season against the Pacers, and then I’ll be solo on Friday night from Orlando and Saturday at home because JD will be with the Saints as they travel to New York City as they take on – or should I say New Jersey? Let’s be honest about this. - as they take on the New York Jets.
ON THE BLACK & BLUE REPORT