Pay attention to the game in front of you — Jeff Van Gundy, this means you
This missive is a heartfelt plea to NBA announcers to tell us more about the game we’re watching and much less about anything else.
Perhaps I’m just grumpy, but it has become very tiresome to watch an NBA game and hear the announcers talk about anything but the game they are purportedly there to broadcast. While I pick on Jeff Van Gundy in my caption, he is perhaps only the most visible and voluble of many transgressors in this respect.
I suspect I speak for others in declaring genuine frustration with the type of information NBA broadcasters are choosing to favor in their commentary. For example, it is increasingly common to have battalions of substitutions occur unremarked upon because Jeff and his ilk are talking about some other NBA story, or even non-NBA current events, rather than providing insight into the game we have dedicated our time to watch. While many sports fans correctly decry the usurping of sports airtime caused by the inevitable celebrity, human interest, and other stories the sideline coverage crews hustle to discover and present, it is far more insidious to the viewing experience to have the person whose very responsibility it is to describe the action in front of him (or, much more rarely, her) careen off on tangents that have little or nothing to do with the game being broadcast.
These guys — and Jeff Van Gundy, I mean you — go on and on about anything while we thirst for what they are quite specifically there to provide: knowledgeable, reasoned commentary on the game playing out right in front of them. The game being broadcast. The broadcast for which they are the soundtrack. Tell me about that rookie who just checked into the game, not about Ben Simmons’ absence from all games. And, while we completely understand and respect that you must praise any and all NBA coaches as masterful, humane geniuses, explain why the coach on the sidelines right down from you has chosen to play that rookie right now. Do your homework for the game you are calling. Under no circumstances should a viewer be able to correct your statistics off the top of his/her head (it is NOT his first 3pg attempt of the game, for example, as he’s missed two in the past two minutes). You should not authoritatively state that Player X has been very impressive or solid lately when his careless turnover at the end of the previous game enabled the other team to win on a buzzer beater.
All we’re suggesting is that you pay as much attention to the game you are commenting on from your courtside seats as we do from our vantage points perhaps a continent or farther away.
You are really good at describing basketball. You know much more about basketball than I do. Please share your knowledge in a way that illuminates our understanding of the game we have chosen to watch. We have plenty of other sources for information or opinion on every other subject, but none for what we hoped to get from you during this game.
And, yeah, Jeff Van Gundy, this means you.