Fighting the battle of minority broadcasters; Some 80% play in league; Only 10% do play-by-play!


The percentages of Minority Broadcasters in the NBA


You’d think that the NBA would have a respectable  representation of Black announcers, particularly play-by-play. The league’s players are close to 80% Black or fully White. A few years ago, the league had only one Black announcer, Eric Collins in Charlotte, and one on radio, Paul Jones in Toronto.

After the brutal murder of George Floyd, NBA teams opened the doors a bit further. The progressive league, made up of 30 teams, added more minorities. It’s now up to six of sixty. (Adam Amin in Chicago is Palestinian and superb.) He also works Fox’ NFL and MLB.)

Currently  (6 of 60 are Black, ( 10%)

Eric Collins (TV, Charlotte) 

Michael Grady (TV Minnesota)

Mark Jones (TV, Sacramento and ESPN)

Chris Miller (TV, Washington)


Jason Jackson (Radio, Miami)

Paul Jones (Radio, Toronto)

Siblings Paul in Toronto on radio and Mark Jones on ESPN and the Sacramento telecasts. Each bring nice soothing qualities. They’re well prepared and never overbearing. The two have a wonderful command of the language bring a sophistication and elegance not heard very many places, be they Black or other minorities. Both Jones brothers have an impressive command of the language  and never gropes for the right word.

For example, Paul Jones painted a detailed description on radio with an economy of words. When Coach Nick Nurse was trying frantically to catch the attention of a player in the din of Toronto’s arena. Paul, amid the madhouse: “Coach Nurse is on his tiptoes in front of the Raptors’ bench, waving his hand furiously, like he was hailing a cab on a busy street-corner.”

On local television there are only four Black play-by-players across the NBA landscape, Eric Collins in Charlotte, Mark Jones in Sacramento and ESPN, Chris Miller in Washington, and Michael Grady in Minnesota, adding a significant number of minorities recently. Still a long way to go.

Black men represent only six of the 30 local play-by-play radio and television chairs in the NBA play-by-play. I find it eye-popping.

Unofficially, DI college basketball has no representation at all.  

The scathing and brutal murder of a Black Man, George Floyd, by a member of the local Minneapolis police staff, Derek Chauvin, was unconscionable. It triggered riots in the streets of Minneapolis in May, 2020.

Decision-makers for the clubs, stations, leagues, teams and networks, started digging for minorities.

The estimated NBA numbers look as such:

Team Broadcasts (Estimated)

NBA percentage of Black players – is estimated 71%, White 17% and 12% splintered.

NBA team radio Black play-by-play announcers (2 of  30) (6.7%)

NBA team TV – Black team play-by-play announcers (4 of 30) (13%)

NBA team TV – Black team analysts (22 of 30) (67%) (Estimate)  

Paul Jones – Toronto radio (in photo – to the left)

David J. Halberstam

David is a 40-year + industry veteran who served as play-by-play announcer for St. John's University basketball in New York and as radio play-by-play voice of the Miami Heat in South Florida. He is the author of Sports on New York Radio: A Play-by-Play History and The Fundamentals of Sports Media and Sponsorship Sales: Developing New Accounts.

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