The NBA is full of physically impressive men. The NBA, like many team sports, has communal showers and changing rooms. It’s a sport where men wear minimal clothing, get sweaty chasing each other and involves a lot of physical contact. All of this, of course, is perfectly normal and acceptable in our society; the natural evolution of group physical activities from the naked men of the Ancient Greek Olympics.
TV and Radio stations employ (mostly) men to describe what is happening on the court to those of us not fortunate enough to attend the games in person. The play-by-play commentators and analysts play a crucial role not just for the audience experiencing the game from a remote location, but for the history of events that have occurred. It is often the voice we associate with amazing plays on the court, whether Marv Albert, Bob Costas, Mike Breen, Johnny Most or Chick Hearn. I will always love Mike Tirico because he was on the call for this:
Sometimes, though, the men and women who call the games say something that just makes me think “do they know what that could actually mean in a different context?”. Invariably when describing something that involves physical acts, you can twist the meaning to represent something you did not intend it to. Something as simple as “pound it inside” makes sense on the basketball court, but if you walked up to a random stranger and said “tonight, my strategy is to pound it inside”, you might get an odd look (or arrested for sexual harassment).
This idea of taking the words of professionals describing basketball events was born from one of The Four Point Play’s earliest round table meetings. The topic became what are all the sexual things announcers say without realising it? We came up with heaps: triple-teamed, double-teamed, take it hard to the hole, pound it inside, banging in the post, hard in the paint…there really are too many to count. From that point, I started to document the evidence and start a list of announcers being filthy by accident.
So, I present to you, the first annual #NBAafterdark. These are actual quotes from actual professionals describing events to a public audience. Turn your moral compass off for a couple of minutes and have some fun with me.
“That’s rimming time!” Denver Vs Portland
Chris Marlowe from the Denver Nuggets gets us started with this beauty in a game vs Portland. The exclamation point here was not added, he was genuinely excited.
I wonder if Mrs Marlowe had heard him say this before?
“If I cut hard enough…Richaun will be open from behind.” Los Angeles Clippers Vs Philadelphia
Alaa Abdelnaby, the 76ers colour commentator, vividly describing a play in a Sixers game against the Clippers. The cool thing about this is he went all Hubie Brown for this, and Hubie features later on. Must be studying from the master.
“He loves finishing around the rim with his left, and we love watching.” New Orleans Vs Memphis
Joel Meyers from the Pelicans comes out with a doozy. Not only does he describe an act that could be interpreted in several different ways, he lumps the viewers in along with his co-broadcaster David Wesly as dirty voyeurs who wouldn’t even look away. Shame on you, Joel.
“Davis forces the issue along the baseline, sucks the entire defence (in).” San Antonio Vs Charlotte.
If Sean Elliott hadn’t added the in to this Bertans drive, this would be a surefire HOFer. Elliott is known as a bit of a homer, so you just know how excited he was when breaking down the on court play.
“Kawhi just rimming” San Antonio Vs Oklahoma City
Kawhi Leonard surprisingly features a couple of times in this list. For such a quiet player, he is being linked to some of the more explicit acts. Bill Land from the Spurs keeps it short and informative in this call against the Thunder.
“Westbrook just hammers the rim! Sends it to Injured Reserve” Chicago Vs Oklahoma City
Dave Pasch is an ESPN sportscaster and had this masterful call on a Brody drive against the Bulls. Given how ferocious Westbrook is when he plays, this might not be very far fetched for other areas of his life.
“Steven Adams with a little rub” Chicago Vs Oklahoma City
Dave goes back to back! And from the same game no less. Although I doubt there is anything little to Adams…
“Klay set that up because he rubbed his man off the screen” Orlando Vs Golden State
Jim Barnett has been the Dubs analyst for decades. This line is excellent because you can add a comma to it and change the meaning in a couple of different ways. Either way, Klay did some excellent rubbing.
“He got Giannis to go a little deeper” Milwaukee Vs Minnesota
I wonder if Jim Paschke has heard the saying about men with big hands? Jim has been doing this for a long time, and this is a classic veteran call. It’s subtle yet blunt, and provides all new meaning to the nickname “Greek Freak”.
With the NBA hitting the postseason, the stakes are increased, and so are the eyeballs and ears. To have the guts to make these calls in the crucible of the Playoffs shows a real commitment to the craft.
“Smart Gives it up to Horford on the take, ball fake. Ohhhhh.” Boston Vs Chicago, 1st Round
Brian Anderson has been calling for TNT since 2014, so it’s great to see him starting to get comfortable with his position and really allowing himself to come through on the broadcasts. The conviction on the “Ohhh” was especially prominant. Good use of “ball” too.
“Nice move by Tristan, gets behind Miles there” Cleveland Vs Indiana, 1st Round
There is beauty with someone nicknamed ‘Bones’ making this call. Brent Barry was a good cutter in his playing days, so he knows a thing or two about getting ‘behind’ the D. He is also experienced enough to leave the audience to imagine what Double T does when he gets behind Miles.
“And that one just rims in for Millsap” Atlanta Vs Washington, 1st Round
Admittedly, Ian Eagle’s line on Millsap isn’t great. But the thought of Eagle talking about ‘rims’ in any context is quite hilarious, just look at his smiling face! He would likely need an urban dictionary to know that his statement could have been taken another way.
“You’ve gotta try and control those spurts, control their runs”. Portland Vs Golden State, 1st Round
Doug Collins has been in the game for something close to 78 years. When he gives advice, you best listen. Nothing worse than allowing someone else to spurt on your home court.
“Earlier in the year he was hesitating, but he’s stroking it nicely now.” Portland Vs Golden State, 1st Round
Maybe Doug Collins has been spending a little too much time around Dave Pasch. Collins has such a magical way of allowing you to visualise this in your own context, whilst also bringing to your attention that ‘he’ has clearly taken the time to improve his stroke. It all starts with practice.
“Pierce with the reach around from behind.” Utah Vs Los Angeles Clippers, 1st Round
There may not be #nightlife in Utah, but Craig Bolerjack wants you to know that doesn’t mean you can’t have a good time.
“Beal strokes it, and buries it!” Atlanta Vs Washington, 1st Round
Welcome back Mr Eagle. Once again your boyish looks belie a devilish mindset. Where exactly is Beal burying it?
“As a player you have to adapt, you have to go out there and bang.” Memphis Vs San Antoni
HOF’er Kevin McHale won 3 championships with his post play. So it is only right that he extols the importance of getting out there and banging. Bodies on bodies!
“They need him to give them something. Whether it’s the points or the rebounds, or the banging in the painted area.” Utah Vs Los Angeles, 1st Round
The best part about Hubie Brown is how he always immerses himself in what he describes. So often, it’s himself he is describing, as the coach or the player. I just know that instead of thinking about the players, you are thinking about Hubie instead. I also know that you read that passage in Hubie’s voice.
“Markeif Morris and Paul Milsap have been going at it.” Atlanta Vs Washington, 1st Round
Maybe Mr Pasch knows something we don’t. Perhaps Paul went to check in on ‘Keif at the hotel after the 2 had a verbal spat in opposing press conferences?
“You get by him, you think you’ve got a step and he pokes from behind.” Washington Vs Boston, 2nd Round
Holding it down for the women, Doris Burke with a great call. One has to wonder if this was said to intentionally tease Drake, who has a well known affection for DB.
“Wall turned his head, and was standing on the side as he back doored (to the basket).” Washington Vs Boston 2nd Round
Hubie almost gets the coveted Innuendo Of The Year award, but let himself down by adding the reference to the basket. If only he had replaced that with rim.
“The reach around by Leonard!” San Antonio Vs Houston, 2nd Round
Mr Pasch, congratulations! You have once the 2017 Sexual Innuendo MVP award. Where would we be without you?