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Opinion

Mike Breen, Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy: Basketball’s true big three

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Roar Rookie
26th September, 2020
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Rarely is a call or commentary team synonymous with the sport.

For football, it’s the voice of Martin Tyler. For the AFL, it was the deep and but emotive voice of Dennis Cometti.

In the NBA it’s the dynamic trio of Mike Breen, Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy.

Over the last decade, this trio has taken the mantle of the big game call.

Whether it be Ray Allen’s game-saving shot of the 2013 finals for the Miami Heat, Stephen Curry’s 40-foot game-winner against the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2016, or LeBron James and Cleveland’s impossible 3-1 comeback against the Golden State Warriors in the 2016 finals.

This trio has called some of the most influential and defining basketball moments in NBA history.

The trio’s star power peaks with its leader, Mike Breen.

The match caller is widely recognised for his famous “BANG!” call.

This simple phrase has allowed Breen to make even the dullest of match-ups seem like a win-or-go-home Game 7.

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This is where the trio shines, making every moment seem like an action set-piece deserving of a blockbuster motion picture.

Breen’s play-by-play call along with Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy’s analysis and banter help to form a commentating trio fit for any clash.

This banter and chemistry are what is essential to make their commentary so engaging.

Sometimes walking a fine line of turning the commentary into a podcast, Jackson and Van Gundy’s random details and discussions help to break up what can sometimes be a repetitive call.

The audience is never certain when Breen’s unbiased commentary will be interrupted by a Van Gundy comment, such as the usual “that’s a bad call” or “that’s a flop”.

Breen is also the mediator of the trio, ensuring that moments in the ball game can be prioritised over Jackson and Van Gundy’s fun.

This balance between match calling and ad-libbed discussion ensures the commentary is adaptive and current, as well as flexible.

Odds are the next time you tune into an NBA game, you’ll hear first-hand basketball’s best big three in action.

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