Of the many reasons to feel generally blah about the upcoming Magic-Lakers series, there is, above all, this sad fact: Mike Breen, the only man who watches basketball and cheers for the refs, is still the voice of the NBA finals.
Breen seems to have something of a following out there, and the only possible explanation is that he appeals to the kind of glowering basketball fan who secretly hates basketball. As usual, Free Darko has the definitive take:
Mike Breen sounds as though he'd prefer to file a book report about lacing sneakers and holding the ball high rather than to actually think about the fluid, emotional, athletic, personality-driven sport of basketball. ... [C]onservative, judgmental, preachy, sufficient, and bland. That is Mike Breen, an unimaginative man who peers out at the basketball world through a colorless lens that precludes the sort of expansive, emotional, romantic vision that best and properly captures the NBA.
Nuggets-Lakers, Game 4 — Dahntay Jones shakes loose and finds himself on an easy breakaway and, instead of a layup or a simple dunk, opts for a big, bright, dunk-contest, fuck-you of a windmill. You can watch it here. It was a wonderful, prideful moment in a very big game. It would've been a wonderful, prideful moment had he clanged the ball off the back of the rim and into the loge seats. It was the sort of thing that briefly made the Nuggets the best, most unconstipated thing about the playoffs. Breen's response: "It still counts as two."
This is already shaping up to be a mostly colorless finals, unless you're the sort of person captivated by storylines involving the Van Gundy brothers and candy. And now here comes Mike Breen, with his "Bang!"s and his "Blocked!"s, who will primly usher the whole damn show into ratings oblivion. I fear for these finals. People seem to be on the verge of turning them into a morality play about sportsmanship and teamwork, and Breen (who is a sure bet to share his thoughts about LeBron's Psych Heard 'Round The World) will be right at home here.
The NBA: where moralizing happens.
Toothpicks Do Not Add up to Salvation [Free Darko]