Lebron James, Joe Montana, Babe Ruth. Those three Sports Legends, have been put on several people’s Mount Rushmore’s in their respective sports. Meaning they are 1 of 4 of the greatest to ever step foot on the field/court. But there is a group of people that are somewhat just as important in the grand scheme of things. The Commentators/Play-by-Play people. And without them, anyone watching at home would have to sit through a mostly silent game. While listening on the radio wouldn’t even be possible. Which is why, I think they deserve to have their own Mount Rushmore.
Below, I will list MY own personal Mount Rushmore of Sports Commentators/Play-by-Play people. Before you ask, this will not include regional broadcasters. No matter how bad I would like to put Jerry Remy (NESN/Red Sox), or Mike Gorman (NBCSN/Celtics).
Starting off the list with a “Bang!” (pun fully intended), Breen makes watching regular season basketball just as entertaining as playoff basketball. Because no matter who he is paired with, I always enjoy listening to a game he is calling. But not even just because of his signature “Bang!” catchphrase when big or outstanding shots are made. But also his voice throughout is great to listen to, the way he keeps things moving, and he always seems to have fun with it. Which is what you want out of a commentator/play-by-play personality.
Watch: Bleacher Report’s “Mike Breens Most Iconic ‘Bang’ Calls”
This next guy, is an all-around talent. Meaning, he can be seen in the booth/at the announcer’s table for a variety of sports. Including the level of said sport(s) (College and Pro). Like Breen, Johnson has some notable catchphrases of his own. Such as “Oh my goodness!”, which is probably the most popular one. But he also has more specific situation ones. Such as when a ball carrier is burning past the defenders, Johnson often says the player has “Get away from the cops’ speed!”.
Johnson makes every game you listen to fun, and catches your ears with what he says. Also, he seems like has fun doing it every game he calls, and you gotta love to see that.
The 2021 C. Frick Award Winner, Michaels has become synonymous with NFL Broadcasts. But news to me, he started out his career in the MLB booth. Starting with the Reds, moving to the Giants, before becoming part of MLB national broadcasts. Including several World Series’ in the ’80s and ’90s.
The 77 year old, along with booth-mate Kirk Herbstreit, have recently been the only bright-spot of Amazon Prime’s “Thursday Night Football”. As the games have been fairly lackluster. Their solid commentary/banter is needed to keep viewership afloat. Even if this past Thursday, Michaels made “Swifties” (Taylor Swift fans) mad with his comments about her fandom.
Watch: “Best Al Michaels Calls”
The fourth face to round out the mountain sculpture, would be Kevin Harlan. This one is more from a video-game voice standpoint. Harlan has been the main voice of the NBA 2K video-game series since NBA 2K17. While it’s only been 7 installments of the series since the Wisconsin native joined, I still couldn’t picture anyone else in his spot at this point. His voice is Marv Albert-esque.
A couple of Harlan’s most notable calls haven’t even been for something that happens in-game. Three different times, he has been on the call for radio/TV when a streaker (in one instance a cat) ran onto the field. Harlan took the opportunity to give it a play-by-play call and the rest is history, hilariously odd history.
If I could hire a sculptor/do it myself, these four guys are the faces I would etch into history. For what they’ve brought to the sports world with their commentary/play-by-play skills.