NBA Title

NBA playoffs heat up; The Van Gundy brothers are active in the semis; Breen and Harlan on play-by-play

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Down to the nitty-gritty now in the NBA.

Basic broadcast info

Voices on Turner: Kevin Harlan, Reggie Miller, Stan Van Gundy – Allie LaForce on sideline

Voices on ESPN: Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy, Mark Jackson – Lisa Salters on sideline

Lisa comes quietly and goes quietly and always has her ground covered firmly.

Allie left CBS and moved to Turner several years ago. Her husband, Joe Smith pitched in MLB from 2007-2022.


  • Shaquille O’Neal could be misleading. He doesn’t share much hoops material. He talks as though he’s disinterested.
  • I never understood why his seating assignment is away from his studio teammates. It’s like he’s shooting from afar. Why? The superb Ernie Johnson Jr. who’s hosted the show forever has an impossible task. He has to twist his face when he addresses Shaq, after Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith quibbled. When the NBA show studio is on the air, it’s almost like Shaq is an after-thought.
  • Shouldn’t Ernie and Shaq exchange seats? There has to some reason for it. It would make things more cohesive.
  • Happy to have Kevin Harlan back on the Conference Finals. He did it last year over Brian Anderson and Ian Eagle. He does stimulating work and has a dulcet tone. But we’re all human. Keep your voice in fine fettle.  Kevin does wonderful play-by-play. He went to Kansas where he was a student of Tom Hedrick, 89, who was actually part of the first Super Bowl broadcast in 1967. Hedrick for that matter is the only member still alive of the first Super Bowl Broadcast.
  • Stan Van Gundy teamed with Reggie Miller and Kevin Harlan on Turner’s Boston-Miami. ESPN has brother Jeff on Western Conference series.
  • Charles Barkley will share one thought and the studio erupts. The caricatures that generally come on after midnight can be hilarious.
  • Have you noticed how much advertising runs on ESPN at halftime. It seems to me that there are more commercials than content. The network should work with the NBA to reconstruct their ad logs. Often, even Stephen A. can’t spit out his thoughts. It’s unfair to him.
  • I felt for Harlan last night at the start of the second half. Viewers were forced to watch two presentations at one time. There was the Heat-Celts game live in Boston and clips from NBA past, on a small corner of your screen. If you were able to follow it , you should teach a course in multi-tasking! Is it an NBA game or a series of extracts? My goodness.
  • The years of Budweiser, Miller and Coors dominating sports advertising seem to have ended. The screen is now filled with the unknown. I’ve never heard of many of these marketers.
  • Is Adam Silver colorblind? Why the inconsistency in uniform color? For instance, the Heat wore their home jerseys at Madison Square Garden. At first, it confuses viewers unnecessarily. 
  • What’s going on? Are Shaq and Kareem becoming Huntley and Barkley? They’re sitting down on Turner to talk.. Kareem is brilliant and he’s never been a showoff, for sure. Shaq’s a prankster, locking Kenny Smith’s studio chair so that he can finally beat him on the race to the back screen to diagram a play.
  • I was in the Denver area for the last week. Colorado is a different type community. I often wonder whether the citizenry there has a pulse.
  • Al Albert is the middle of the three brothers, oldest Marv and youngest Steve. He called Nuggets games for years.
  • The Nuggets are one of the four teams that survived the American Basketball Association, formed in 1967, and merged with the NBA in 1976. Denver, San Antonio, Indianapolis and the Nets are the other three. Only Denver hasn’t made the title series yet.
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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