CHICAGO – It doesn't take very long to know you're on ESPN SportsCenter. Play-by-play broadcaster Bill Hazen found that out within minutes after his description of a spectacular Tony Mitchell one-handed rebound and dunk hit the air last Saturday night.
“When you're on the air describing one of these games, you're usually the last one to know,” Hazen said. “But today it's a connected universe out there. So I found out from friends via Twitter, Facebook and email.”
The play occurred in an NBA Development League playoff game between the Ft. Wayne Mad Ants and the Sioux Falls Skyforce. Mad Ants' guard Matt Bouldin launched a three-point shot that hit the back of the rim and bounced high in the air. The 6-7 Mitchell streaked through the lane area, leaped and grabbed the ball at its apex, and stuffed it in with one hand. The play was selected 7th on ESPN's daily highlight feature, and it was the only play presented with the announcer's audio at full volume throughout.
“These things don't happen in a vacuum,” Hazen continued. “Tony was spectacular, and the video from our crew was very compelling. The Mad Ants are an incredible story.
“I'm particularly pleased to see the D-League drawing interest and exposure. The level of play in the league is tremendous, and there are many compelling stories to tell.”
Hazen's play-by-play descriptions have been shown on SportsCenter in the past, including previous NBA telecasts and college events. His descriptions have also been featured on NBA promos through the years, including the series entitled The NBA: It's FANtastic!
In one such promo, Chicago Bulls center Jawaan Oldham blocked three consecutive shots, leading to a fast break and basket by Michael Jordan. According to the series creators, it was the only promo to air showcasing a single play-by-play voice. The video piece ran for two seasons on CBS Television.
The ESPN SportsCenter report can be seen through the YouTube website at the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XCp7DgZku2Q&feature=youtu.be