The Popcorn Stand: Praise, criticism for ESPN, just praise for Sager

Anyone who knows me knows how I feel about ESPN (basically I feel the network has ruined sports), so I’m taking a rare chance to praise the network.

But first not after bashing the network as well. Is it just me or does Mike Breen’s voice go up an octave whenever the Cleveland Cavaliers do something remotely good. Breen, a normally solid play-by-play guy who took over for Marv (Yes!) Albert as the New York Knicks No. 1 play-by-play announcer, is now ESPN’s No. 1 NBA play-by-play announcer as well.

So it’s somewhat understandable Breen can’t help himself for pulling a little bit for the Cavs since he’s an Eastern Conference guy. But his joy over how well the Cavs did in game six seemed a little bit more exaggerated to me.

And Jeff Van Gundy. Don’t get me started. What I think about Van Gundy’s homerism toward the Cavs, especially LeBron James, can’t be printed. This, of course, coming from a totally objective Warriors fan. Anyway, the lone bright spot of game 6 came when Craig Sager, the classy guy with the colorful jackets who’s battle against cancer has been well-documented, was given the chance to work courtside for his first NBA Finals game ever during the ABC broadcast.

So kudos to TNT, Sager’s home network, and ESPN for getting a deal done to allow Sager the chance to be part of the broadcasting for the NBA Finals.

— Charles Whisnand


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