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When you tell people you work for a pro sports organization, one of the first questions people ask is some form of: ‘What are they like in person?’ That question also usually applies to our on-air personalities.
When it comes to the Cavaliers second-year sideline reporter, Angel Gray, the answer is: Exactly how she appears on TV. Energetic, engaged, inquisitive and – when it comes to hoops – occasionally opinionated. Angel organically breathes life into every room or arena (or airplane or bus) that she walks into.
Before joining FSO’s crew before the 2018-19 season, Angel had done play-by-play for the WNBA’s L.A. Sparks along with analysis for NBATV, ESPN, and CBS.
And when Angel talks basketball, she knows from whence she speaks – having played four years for Florida State, winning a pair of ACC Championships, making four straight tourney appearances, twice advancing to the Sweet 16 and once to the Elite 8.
A couple weeks ago, Cavs.com asked current TV play-by-play man John Michael for some of his favorite radio calls. This week, we asked the effervescent Angel Gray to pick out some of her favorite postgame interviews from this past season and describe them in her own words. Here’s what she chose.
"I remember how loud the crowd was that night. It was early in the season and there was just this roar. It was like ‘Gladiator’!
"I thought it was cool to see what second-year guard Collin Sexton was all about. And he had that incredible dunk on Wendell Carter late in that one. Man, that was a fun one! Collin shocked everyone. Kevin Love said we didn’t even know he had it in him.
"That was one of the most fun interviews I did all season – just because of the energy in the arena, how the team finished it and the fight they had. And how fitting that it was the Young Bull to close it out, just because that’s he’s known for: that fight and that feistiness."
"In that game Collin Sexton had 31 points, hit five three-pointers. (And if you remember, people said he couldn’t shoot the long-ball coming out of college.)
I don’t know what it is about him and the Garden, but he kills it there. I remember talking with him during his first year and him telling me about talking to his dad, saying: ‘How cool is it that I get to play here on this stage, at this level?’
"It’s the mecca, you know. Everyone wants to play there, but Collin plays well there – really well. That game, he led the Cavs. He was efficient. He hit big shots.
"It’s easier to do it with the crowd behind you, but to do it with some of the most aggressive fans in the league chirping at you on the biggest stage? That’s when you see what he’s all about."
"This was one of my favorite games of the season, just because of what was surrounding it. It went into overtime and they had to fight back.
"I just remember the fight in Tristan. And that was one of my favorite sideline huddles, too. Tristan was going nuts in the huddle; he was basically the coach, yelling what each guy needs to be doing. It was really one of the coolest moments of the year. Everyone was right there with him. He demanded that they were on the same page.
"The team had had such a problem closing out games. And Tristan was going to make sure they closed this one out. He played 45 minutes and wasn’t just a leader in the huddle, he showed out on the floor – finishing with a career-high 35 points. He knew what the team needed and he delivered.
"And I love Kevin Love jumping in saying that wine was on the way. You can celebrate when you have a performance like that."
"This one really makes me miss being out there!
"Coming into that game, we were nervous. This is a really good Denver team and we had so many variables going in. They could have been excuses. We were starting a long trip, a couple guys were sick, we were playing in the altitude. And did they have enough in the tank after an emotional game in Detroit two nights earlier.
"But at the end of the day, two of the youngest guys, Darius and Collin, shined the brightest.
"People questioned whether they were mature enough to handle it and whether they could work together in the same backcourt. And I thought that was their statement game. They could both succeed and support each other.
"And for Tristan to come in there like big pop was really cool. Who doesn’t want their mentor, the team’s leader, to come in and validate what you’ve done – saying ‘We couldn’t have done it without these two guys’?
"It was great for the bridge between the young guys and the veterans."
"You realize you have to do your job, but you also realize that at some point you might lose the mic and never get it back!
"But the thing is: when the guys are excited, I’m excited.
"All of this interview’s big three finished with double-figures in this one. Tristan had three threes. At one point I couldn’t get the questions out fast enough. It was one of those dinner table, remember-when moments when you’re just laughing how awesome the game was!
"The only thing that was missing in that interview as a little box to step on because they were towering over me.
"But it was one of the coolest postgames of the year, and my favorite parts is Larry saying the interview is too long interview and wrapping it up. They wanted to get to All-Star break."
"This was J.B. Bickerstaff’s first game and the team was trying to figure out their new identity and show the league they and weren’t done. You could see right away in this one that they understood the importance of fighting for their lives down the stretch.
"Tristan had one of his best statistical seasons and the team shined the brightest when he was at his best. That night, he made some really big defensive plays. He’d block a shot and will still be yelling at the crowd as the ball is on the other end.
"But you could tell how focused and hungry the team was. They had something to prove – that they were better than their record. And this game was like a reset button for them, starting from scratch.
"I always say: As Tristan goes, so goes the team. And that game was a perfect example of it."
"This one was fun!
"That game was interesting. We got blasted by 19 by the Heat two nights earlier in Miami. But the Cavs showed their ability to respond and bounce back.
"Larry Nance Jr. came off the bench and really stepped up big in the fourth quarter and overtime. In the second half of the season, Larry really understood what he had to be for this team.
"And then Kevin Porter: we were wondering when is that game where he really breaks out. And this was it. This was the game where people said: This guy is gonna be a problem in this league.
"He was unbelievable. Timely threes. Big defensive plays. You could see his confidence starting to grow.
"There were questions about the bench at times this year, and those two guys performing at a high clip against a very good team said a lot."
"What’s strange is that his wound up being the last home game of the season.
"Not only did I call the game – which was fun – I also did my normal gig as sideline reporter.
"Matthew Dellavedova was so consistent in the second half of the season. He’s so vital for the offense to flow, how he sets everyone else to be their best.
"He hates doing interviews with me. Delly doesn’t like talking about himself. But after this one – a double-double with 11 assists, I was like: You can’t walk away!
"And I thought it was cool for Drummond to express what Delly means to the team. Delly’s more comfortable hearing it from a guy in the foxhole with him, because they’re with each other every day knowing what they’re battling. Drummond was starting to get more comfortable in the offense, and Delly’s was a big part of that.
"So to do it after an overtime win in front of the league’s best fans was awesome, but it was especially fun because I got to get on Delly’s nerves for an interview."