ESPN’s Analysts: They’ve Got the Magic (Johnson) Dick (Vitale)

Posted: February 20, 2013 in Sports
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

I know it’s cliché to complain about announcers. I get that. I understand that they have a job to do and I also understand that it’s not nearly as easy as it looks to sit down and string together lucid, interesting, and informative comments on a sport as it is unfolding in real time. I’ve tried to do verbal posts for this blog, at one point really enjoying a segment that I called the “Friday F- Yous” and that was hard enough to piece together semi-coherent Burns on different topics, let alone an entire 90 minute broadcast.

All that being said, I need to get something off my chest. I can’t stand Dick Vitale. “Dicky V” as he’s affectionately called by people who are in charge of deciding who gets called things affectionately, is a staple of ESPN’s college basketball coverage. He routinely is selected by the network to call the biggest games in College Basketball. He gets the A-List matchups. He gets to live the dream of so many college hoops junkies as he travels the states and sits courtside watching the choicest of showdowns and the top-shelf throwdowns. For many, he’s the face of college basketball.

But he’s obnoxious. He’s over-anxious. A little too excitable. He winds himself in the beginning of every game and then, the moment the game tips off, he’s barking like a hoarse chihuahua with an unkown visitor at the door.  For a spastic, frenzied, manic talking head like Vitale every game is described as a “must win.”  Every play is recounted with breathless howls of delight that are part hungry chimp, part network-diluted Andrew Dice Clay (*Author’s note: for those of you wondering if those are, in fact, the same thing, you’re not far from the truth.): “It’s awesome, babbbbbaaaaay!”  I view Vitale as an unfortunately necessary evil.  He’s just something you have to surmount if you want to watch elite college basketball games; a speed bump at the entrance to a really great theme park, if you will.

Normally I grit my teeth and just kind of effort through Vitale’s over-indulgent broadcasting style.  I tweet out brief complaints and hope that we, as sports fans, can vent together onto the group therapy forum know as Twitter.

But last night, for the Indiana V.S. Michigan State game, ESPN took things to a whole new level.

They paired Vitale with another of my least favorite analysts/broadcasters.  They paired him with Magic Johnson.  Magic is one of my favorite NBA Players of all time.  He’s also, simultaneously, one of my least favorite NBA analysts of all time.  He’s smarmy.  He’s a little too fake cheery, always sporting a veneer of complete happiness that grates on my cynical sensibilities.  Magic Johnson is constantly perched on the entryway-of-a-Christmas-party-when-you-are-first-entering-someone’s-house tier of complete and utter faux-gleefulness.  Oh, and he never says anything worthwhile about basketball, either.

He’s constantly around at Michigan State basketball games, lurking at the not-so-peripheral-when-ESPN’s-cameras-cut-away-to-your-seats-for-10,000-reaction-shots-per-game peripheries.  He’s there, grinning like a post-lay ex-virgin, constantly glad-handing or kicking it with Tom Izzo’s wife as they establish the Magic-Lupe Line of Demarcation.  I guess ESPN figured since he would inevitably be at the game, and they would inevitably have an entire camera operator dedicated to shooting his gargantuan grin, why not just sit him down with Vitale and the play-by-play voice.

(*Author’s note: I’ve explained in previous postings what the Magic-Lupe Line of Demarcation is: In the history of over-exposed family members/spouses/famous-alumni-who-don’t-actually-matter-to-the contest-at-all, no one had ever approached the Magic-Lupe Line of Demarcation before.  This line, established from 2000-2010 by the apex-of-the-vortex duo of Magic Johnson and Michigan State Coach Tom Izzo’s wife, Lupe during the Spartans’ final four runs, had never before been challenged.  It was hallowed ground.  It was Wilt’s 100 points in a single game.  It was Edwin Moses’ 107 consecutive finals wins in the 400 Hurdles.)

Since I’ve just burned through 600 words complaining about the same stuff I always complain about with these two, I’ll just cut to the chase.  Since I’d rather watch Magic Mike than Magic/Dick,  Here is an extensive, highly scientific listing of some broadcasting duos that I would have enjoyed more than Dick and Magic.

(*Author’s note: although I do enjoy making Dick Magic references.  Magic dick is good too.)

–  The Stein Bros.:  Frankenstein and Ben Stein


Ben:  “Izzo?  Izzo?  Izzo?  Izzo?  Izzo?  Izzo?  What do you think Frank?”

Frank: “Uggggnnnh.  Me no like Watford shot selection.  Uggggnnnhh.”

Ben: “And Victor Oladipo is really on fire right now.”

Frank: “Fire. . .bad.”

Ben: “Fire is good, Frank.  Frank?  Frank?  Frank?  Frank?  Frank?  Frank?  Frank?

–  Fran Drescher and Mushmouth from Fat Albert


–  The Ying Yang Twins and a former smoker using an Electrolarynx


–  A hammered girl who is sobbing uncontrollably and Bane from The Dark Knight Rises

–  Brad Pitt’s Gypsy boxing champ, Mickey from Snatch and Benicio Del Toro’s criminal, Fenster, from The Usual Suspects


(*Author’s note: if you don’t get these, then you need to cinematically step your game up, son.)


  1. madhat says:

    “Fire. . .bad.”
    I’m so glad you worked this into your post. I’m still laughing picturing this duo.

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