What divides great PBP voices from good ones?

Is your play-by-play career stuck on the 9th floor of a 10-story building? Maybe you aspire to a major college play-by-play job but you’ve plateaued at Division I-AA. Or maybe you’ve been in minor league baseball for 10 years yet never even interviewed for a Major League job.

nba energy

Your play-by-play might be missing the one thing that distinguishes the great voices from the very good ones:

NBA energy.

I call it NBA energy because it is most noticeable there, but it is applicable to all sports. While it is easy for me to hear, it is harder for me to explain how to incorporate it.

NBA energy is an unusually high degree of energy and enthusiasm throughout a broadcast.

Frankly, to me it sounds forced and over the top but most of the top guys do it. Therein lies my inability to articulate a fix. Because it felt unnatural to me, I didn’t do it in my own play-by-play.

I recently asked a couple of veteran NBA broadcasters about NBA energy. Based upon their input, my best suggestion to you is this:

Allow yourself to more freely exhibit the unbridled joy, excitement, wonderment and awe that all of us feel when watching games. Let your listeners hear it in your delivery.

When I was a freshman in high school, my basketball coach re-built my shot. At first, the new form felt unnatural. Over time, though, it became comfortable and routine. Hopefully, incorporating NBA energy into your broadcast will eventually feel the same.


  1. Chuck Cooperstein

    Why wouldn’t you be enthusiastic? You never know when the best moment of the game will be. It could be the very first play of the game. If I’m not excited and passing that feeling along, then why should anyone listening to me get excited and invest the time that I’d like them to? The mechanics are important. The passion and enthusiasm is just as important.


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