There have been plenty of great NBA commentators over the league’s 75-year history. The best announcers have been able to keep fans glued to the television, even in the midst of a blowout game.
Best NBA commentators ranked
The role of an NBA commentator is extremely important. The greatest plays in the history of the league are heightened to new levels when combined with a perfect call from the announcers.
Every NBA announcer is different, and it is the most unique commentators that have left the biggest impact on the NBA community. Some are remembered for their great calls of big games, while others for their voice and view on the sport. The ones on this list will be remembered as the best NBA commentators of all time.
15. Doris Burke
Doris Burke has done amazing work for ESPN’s NBA coverage over the last few decades and is a role model for many young women looking to go into broadcasting.
She started her career in 1990 with coverage of the WNBA and college basketball games. Burke became the first woman to call a New York Knicks broadcast in 2000.
Prior to the 2017-18 season, Burke earned the position of national NBA game analyst for ESPN. She currently provides commentary during the NBA Finals on ESPN Radio.
14. Chris Webber
As far as former players go, Chris Webber is one of the best NBA analysts. He worked at TNT from 2008 to 2021, but then they mutually agreed to part ways before the 2021 playoffs.
Webber was on the top broadcasting team for the network the last few years prior to leaving the company.
The former NBA All-Star worked alongside Marv Albert for the majority of his broadcasting stint at TNT and also made regular appearances on Inside the NBA.
13. Dick Stockton
One of the top NBA announcers, Dick Stockton worked as an NBA play-by-play announcer for many decades, starting his career all the way back in 1974.
Stockton worked for many different networks before his eventual retirement in 2021. He was an announcer for Boston Celtics TV, New York Knicks TV, NBA on CBS, and NBA on TNT.
While working at CBS from 1981 to 1990, Stockton called nine NBA Finals. In 2001, he was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame as a broadcaster.
12. Ian Eagle
Ian Eagle has done a great job calling games for both the NFL and college basketball but is also currently one of the best NBA announcers.
Eagle began his NBA broadcasting career in 1994 as a radio voice for the Brooklyn Nets. He later became the television commentator for the team.
In addition to calling Nets games, which he still does today on the YES Network, Eagle is a play-by-play announcer during the NBA playoffs for TNT.
11. Mike Fratello
In addition to being one of the best NBA commentators, Mike Fratello has spent time as an NBA coach, even winning Coach of the Year in 1985-86 with the Atlanta Hawks.
Fratello has bounced around between NBA coaching and commentating. He has worked for NBC, TNT, NBA TV, and YES Network, and has coached the Hawks, Cavaliers, and Grizzlies.
He has worked alongside many top NBA announcers including Steve Kerr, Marv Albert, and Kevin Harlan.
10. Kevin Harlan
One of the most recognizable voices in basketball, Kevin Harlan has some of the greatest calls in NBA history.
His most memorable call took place on May 12, 2008, when after a big LeBron dunk, Harlan screamed “LeBron James with no regard for human life!”
Harlan was named National Sportscaster of the Year in 2017 and 2019. He is currently doing play-by-play for NBA on TNT.
9. Steve Kerr
Although known for being a former player and the current head coach of the Warriors, Steve Kerr was an excellent NBA commentator.
Kerr started out in broadcasting in 2003, providing commentary for games on TNT alongside Marv Albert.
Kerr’s broadcasting stint lasted from 2003 until 2007 and again from 2010 to 2014. He was on the call for big NBA games, the voice for in-game commentary for NBA Live for five years, and also the color analyst voice for NBA 2K for four years.
8. Walt “Clyde” Frazier
Walt “Clyde” Frazier has been a major part of the New York Knicks not just as a player, but also as one of the best NBA commentators.
Frazier has been calling Knicks games since 1987, starting out on the radio and then moving to television with Marv Albert and Mike Breen.
Even at 76 years old, he continues to call Knicks games on the MSG Network. Frazier will become the first person inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame as both a player and broadcaster after winning the 2022 Curt Gowdy Award.
7. Doug Collins
Doug Collins‘s broadcasting career began in 1985, starting out with playoff games for CBS.
He was one of the best NBA analysts but often left broadcasting for head coaching positions in the league. He spent time as a head coach for the Bulls, Pistons, Wizards, and 76ers.
Collins had worked for various networks, including NBC, TNT, CBS, TBS, and ABC/ESPN. He also served as an analyst for NBC’s basketball coverage at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.
6. Mike Breen
Mike Breen has been calling NBA games for 30 years, and his signature “Bang!” after a player hits a big shot is one of the most well-known calls in NBA broadcasting history.
Breen has spent the majority of his career at ESPN and ABC, where he has called the NBA Finals on ABC since 2006. He also works for the MSG Network calling Knicks games.
Breen was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2021.
5. Hubie Brown
One of the best NBA analysts of all time, Hubie Brown started broadcasting in 1982 after he had been fired as head coach of the Atlanta Hawks.
During his head coaching stint with the Knicks in the early 1980s, Brown would occasionally call playoff games for CBS. He was hired full-time by the network in 1986.
Brown currently works as an analyst for ABC and ESPN and will be inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame as a broadcaster in 2022.
4. Chick Hearn
Although he hasn’t broadcasted an NBA game in nearly 20 years, Chick Hearn is known by many, especially Lakers fans, as one of the greatest NBA commentators of all time.
Between 1965 and 2001, Hearn broadcasted 3,338 consecutive Lakers games. He retired from broadcasting a year later after the 2002 NBA playoffs.
Hearn was the first to coin some of the most popular basketball phrases today. “Slam dunk,” “air ball,” “finger-roll,” and “give and go,” are just a few of the phrases Hearn brought to NBA broadcasting.
3. Jeff Van Gundy
Jeff Van Gundy began his career in broadcasting in 2007.
Van Gundy started out as a guest analyst for ESPN following his head coaching job in Houston with the Rockets. He has been one of the best NBA commentators for ESPN since.
Van Gundy is honest and tells it like it is, even if that means criticizing the players, refs, or just the NBA rules in general.
2. Jack Ramsay
As far as basketball knowledge goes, nobody knew more than Jack Ramsay.
His experience as a player, coach, and general manager helped him to become one of the top NBA announcers in the league’s history.
Ramsay called 15 NBA Finals on ESPN Radio during his time with the network between 1996 and 2012. He was also a color commentator on television for the Philadelphia 76ers and Miami Heat.
1. Marv Albert
Marv Albert tops the list as the greatest NBA commentator of all time. He began his broadcasting career all the way back in the early 1960s.
Albert called NBA games for more than half a century. He worked for many networks throughout his career, which included MSG Network, NBC Sports, TNT, and YES Network.
Albert, who is referred to as “the voice of basketball,” retired from broadcasting in 2021.
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