George Blaha is in the middle of his 30th season with the Pistons, which means that he's been calling games for longer than I've been alive. Not surprisingly, it's almost impossible for me to recall any memorable Pistons moment without hearing his voice in my head. In fact, I now go out of my way to hear his voice during memorable Pistons moments -- like many metro Detroiters, I routinely mute the television and turn up the radio during playoff games, preferring his familiar calls over the stylized announcers on national broadcasts.
But even though Blaha is the voice of the Pistons, what do you really know about him? As a kid, he helped me learn everything I knew about all of my favorite players -- where they grew up, what school they went to, when they were drafted -- but until I came across a profile on him in today's Free Press, I didn't realize just how little I actually knew about him.
When Pistons announcer Paul Carey decided in 1976 to concentrate on Tigers broadcasts, WJR newsman Tom Campbell suggested Blaha as a replacement to sports director Frank Beckmann.
Blaha got the job, and vividly recalls his first WJR broadcast from Cobo Arena.
"When I saw Bob Lanier and the Bullets' Wes Unseld come out for the opening tip-off, I thought, 'My God, this is a man's league, I better get ready,' " Blaha said.
Have the Pistons ever had a George Blaha bobblehead promotion? Because that's a game that I would definitely go to.
30 SEASONS OF GEORGE BLAHA [Detroit Free Press]