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Courtesy of a technical difficulty: A brief, precious symphony of basketball

Jan 4, 2012, 7:03 PM EDT

Chicago Bulls v Atlanta Hawks - Game Six Getty Images

Every Tuesday, Turner Sports allows NBA fans worldwide to decide which game will be broadcast — in glorious high definition — nation-wide on their basketball-only network, NBA TV. “Fan Night” is the channel’s most overt catering to the game’s faithful, and a nice treat for basketball fans that, for whatever reason, opt not to invest in the full NBA League Pass package.

Only this past Tuesday, a technical difficulty gave NBA fans a nice — if brief — gift of a different kind. When Ernie Johnson, back in the NBA TV studio, attempted to throw the call of the Fan Night game to Neil Funk and Stacey King in Chicago, we were left only with the beautiful, organic sounds of the game itself:

The NBA’s play-by-play men and color commentators do a good job of keeping casual viewers informed as to what’s going on in the game and analyzing performances in progress, but for NBA TV’s Fan Night — which makes its target audience clear up front — I wonder if this isn’t something we should see (well, hear) for a full game every week. NBA fans generally don’t need to be told that Josh Smith is the player who just clanged a long jumper, or that Derrick Rose is that blurred speedster running down the lane. They know the names and faces of the game, but because of the format of the standard NBA broadcast, basketball’s organic rhythms are reserved solely for those lucky enough to sit in the lower bowl of the arena and limited to whatever sounds permeate the blaring arena music and P.A. prompts for “DE-FENSE.”

All of these presentational elements have their place and purpose, and I’m not suggesting that they be taken away from the regular game experience. Simply that on this one night a week, in which NBA TV surrenders its programming power to fans, that those same fans are allowed to experience the game on a more intimate, natural level.

Let’s hear the sneaker squeaks. Let’s hear that chatty Bulls defense communicating after every action. Let’s hear Carlos Boozer‘s expletive after giving up an easy bucket to Josh Smith. Hell, let’s even hear the metronomic sound of a bouncing ball. This is what basketball sounds like, and it would do fans of the game — on their night, no less — good to hear that hardwood symphony a bit more regularly.

  1. pudgalvin - Jan 4, 2012 at 7:38 PM

    You guys don’t know what your missing not hearing Stacy King.

    • dirksimmons - Jan 4, 2012 at 11:43 PM

      Seriously. Stacey is the best.

    • comeonnowguys - Jan 5, 2012 at 9:17 AM

      I completely agree. But it seems like he’s off his game a little with the one-liners. His chalk talk, though, has really gotten strong.

      • comeonnowguys - Jan 5, 2012 at 9:26 AM

        And don’t forget this:


  2. glink123 - Jan 4, 2012 at 7:45 PM

    agree with pudgalvin. King is as good as there is. “gimme the hit sauce!”, “Asik and Destroy”, “the Turkish Hamma!”, to name a few. I also like how he doesn’t shy away from calling an inept ref exactly what he is, and often times, King says it loud enough, and repeats it enough, that you just know he’s making sure the ref passing by the announcers table can hear him.

  3. porkcarrot - Jan 4, 2012 at 7:59 PM

    That was great. Someone please make this happen. I can’t see them ever agreeing to a weekly thing, but this could be done once or twice.

  4. lakerade - Jan 5, 2012 at 6:28 AM

    The lakers do this for one home game, broadcasting the game from a “courtside” view where there is just arena ambience and no commentary, it IS a beautiful thing to enjoy a game that way and showcases the live experience.

  5. chicago240 - Jan 5, 2012 at 10:00 AM

    If I were Taj Gibson, I’d smack Stacy for his “hard hat and lunch pail” comment every time Taj scores his first basket. No one carrying a lunch pail has a $5MM contract. Enough already.

  6. treerockstar420 - Jan 5, 2012 at 12:31 PM

    I watched that the other night and thought that it was one of the best experiences I’ve had in years watching basketball. It was great to hear the sounds of the game as it is without all the noise and redundant sportscasters talking over it. They should do it once a week as a “Fan Choice”. It was awesome listening to the communication between the players. If they’re worried about foul language put in a delay and filter it. Either way the do it, they should. I was actually annoyed when they figured it out.

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