After nearly 30 years announcing Chicago Bulls basketball and 50 years overall in broadcasting, TV play-by-play legend Neil Funk will retire his headset at the conclusion of the 2019-20 season. Neil will continue his play-by-play prowess for all preseason and regular season home games but will reduce his announcing schedule on the road.
"After 43 years calling NBA games, 28 of those with the Chicago Bulls, it is time to step aside. I want to give a special thanks to Jerry and Michael Reinsdorf for allowing me and my family to be a part of the best franchise in sports. I also want to thank Bulls fans around the world for being so gracious and supportive. Thanks for the great ride," said Neil Funk.
"Neil has been the voice of five of the six Bulls Championships, and his play-by-play will be forever linked to three decades of storied Chicago Bulls basketball. Not only has Neil called games for some of the NBA's greatest players, but he has had a career that makes him one of the NBA's most trusted broadcasters of all time. We thank Neil for his contributions that have consistently made our broadcasts among the best in the league, and wish him and his family the very best," said Jerry Reinsdorf, Chicago Bulls Chairman and Alternate NBA Governor.
"Neil's tremendous NBA broadcasting career spans nearly five decades, and we have been fortunate to be a part of it for the past 28 years. Whether listening to the radio or watching on TV, Bulls fans have always been able to count on Neil and his signature phrases to capture the excitement of the Chicago Stadium, the United Center, and any road arena. We greatly appreciate everything that he has done for the team and look forward to celebrating his accomplishments during his final season," said Michael Reinsdorf, Chicago Bulls President and COO.
Funk began his broadcasting career in 1971 announcing University of Illinois basketball and football games, as well as Danville Warrior games (Milwaukee Brewers farm club) on WITY Radio. His first NBA stint was in 1976-77, when he broadcast the Philadelphia 76ers on WIBG Radio. Neil went on to Kansas City where he announced Kings games and was named Missouri's best sports broadcaster three times while serving as the Kings' broadcaster. He returned to the Sixers' broadcast from 1982-1989 and earned an Emmy Award in his final year. The following three seasons he handled play-by-play for the New Jersey Nets on WNBC and WNEW.
Known for his signature phrase "Ka-Boom!" over the course of his tenure calling Bulls games, the organization will celebrate Neil throughout the season with special in-game and on-air features.
For those games that Neil is absent this year, the Bulls plan to slot in various play-by-play announcers alongside Bulls TV analyst Stacey King. The Bulls will provide an update on a substitute announcer schedule at a later date.