What’s your definition of “wasted talent” as it pertains to the NBA? Many would say it’s any variation of an athlete squandering their natural ability. Such a thought process isn’t wrong, but when I think of the NBA’s wasted talent, it’s the Pistons’ iconic play-by-play and color commentator - George Blaha and Greg Kelser - who come to mind.
A case could be made right now that the adored tandem is the best feature the state of Michigan has to offer regarding professional sports. It’s an absolute travesty they’ve only called eight first-round playoff games over the last ten years.
Blaha and Kelser own a laundry list of likeable qualities, but one stands out in particular: they check their homer glasses at the door.
It’s the observational fairness exampled 82 times per season that sets the duo apart from their announcing colleagues around the league. If the basketball is out of bounds off Andre Drummond, then Special K is going to tell you it’s off Andre Drummond. As a hoops fan first and foremost, I appreciate the honesty.
While we all love the tag team of class and basketball intellect, unfortunately, the blog game is about clicks and 2000 fawning words about Blaha and Kelser won’t sell. Instead, I want to discuss a few of the more controversial Fox Sports Detroit figures and topics that we’re treated to each game night, and would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section.
Johnny Kane looks like a guy that not-so-casually brags about his Bloomfield Hills Country Club membership, the new Tesla X in his garage, or his rowdy fraternity days to anyone unfortunate to be within speaking distance. The boyish good looks and posh dress code displayed by Detroit’s premier sideline reporter indicates he spends most of his spare time in VIP sections. The permanently clean-shaved face screams, “I own annoying tendencies.”
Hopefully, though, you were taught to never judge a book by its cover - because Smooth Johnny Kane is the god damn man!
My two favorite traits of Kane are his willingness to engage with #PistonsTwitter:
I personally want to thank all of you who showed up for the Pistons Twitter meet-up. I'm glad I got to meet so many of you. I appreciate what you stand for. Way to show out Pistons fam.— Johnny Kane (@JohnnyKaneFSD) April 21, 2019
And the self-awareness he brings to each telecast:
“The ceiling is the roof!” Whoops. I botched that one pretty good, but I really do appreciate the support from the Pistons Twitter family. It’s a dream to be able to do this.— Johnny Kane (@JohnnyKaneFSD) November 24, 2019
Just like the team, I’m working to become better every minute. Far from perfect... but brick by brick.
People who can laugh at themselves are people I want to be around.
The context surrounding the above tweet is that Ryan Field 2.0 subbed in for the legendary George Blaha during a Pistons road trip to Milwaukee. I’m a little light on the entire Kane bio but I don’t believe play-by-play, at least on the professional level, is consistently (he has sporadically filled in before) on his résumé, yet he still puts himself directly in the crosshairs of public ridicule and online trolls. Pass or fail, the balls to try automatically garners my respect.
Put it this way, if you got a problem with Johnny Kane, you got a problem with yourself. In fact, I want more Johnny Kane in 2020! Below is my pitch to FSD to do just that.
Kane would obviously thrive as host of one of those ‘getting to know you while doing mundane/wild activities’ shows along the lines of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee or Running Wild with Bear Grylls. With that in mind, this is what I’m thinking:
Title: Special Delivery with Johnny Kane (presented by DBB) to be aired twice per month on the Pistons Live Pregame show.
Concept: Kane and special guest (a different Pistons player each episode) hijack a FedEx truck (or, for the right sponsorship price, a UPS truck) and deliver packages around metro-Detroit.
Hilarity ensues when people either recognize Kane and his guest de jour, or perhaps even funnier, when they don’t recognize the handsome truck driver and his abnormally large assistant.
In-between dropping off packages, we get to know the players a bit better. During candid conversation, maybe Kane dives into their deepest fears or biggest regrets, I mean, who knows where it could lead? With this show, potentially, the ceiling is the roof!
I don’t know about you, but I’m watching the shit out of that.
There is only one piece of advice I have for Johnny and that’s to lose the -ny. Why? Because who is picking a fight with someone named John Kane? Nobody, that’s who. A guy named John Kane sounds like he sleeps with a pillow under his gun.
John Kane, badass-ness personified.
Legal Genius featuring D.L. Hughley
OK, what’s the story behind this?
How did Hollywood Hughley get involved with a medical malpractice law firm based out of Southfield, Michigan? Landing a recognizable face to sling products is impressive, sure, but let the record forever show:
Kings of Comedy rankings: Ced, Steve, Mac, DLH.— Mike Snyder (@M_James_Snyder) April 7, 2018
Also, this should mean something to you:
"Take that asthma" kid gets me so hype like fuck yeah dweeby white kid kick its ass lets go— Joe Truck (@Joe_Truck) October 23, 2019
Menards Big Money Moment
This one confuses me a bit, like, what is it? Did I miss something? Has the honor been clearly defined? What is the exact criteria for this sponsored segment? It gets handed out way too randomly.
When I think of a “big money moment” during the sport of basketball, I envision a play that shifted momentum or a sequence that turned the tide. Seems like a reasonable interpretation given the handle, but that cannot be the rationale for a few reasons, namely because we’ve all witnessed the award allocated during the first half!
Sorry (not sorry) but a big money moment cannot take place within the first 24 minutes of action, you’re leaving too many possibilities on the table. On the rare occurrences that it does, you can always circle back once a full picture has been painted later in the game.
I feel ya, Luke. Fast break points, collectively, are a theme and not a “moment.”
Furthermore, what if Bruce Brown hears the big money moment has already been presented with six minutes remaining in the second quarter, he might take his foot off the gas a little bit. We want our players motivated, don’t we? Show me a higher motivational dangling carrot for a player than the chance to be awarded with the Menards Big Money Moment award, I’ll wait.
If I’m a corporate bigwig at Menards shelling out big bucks for the namesake, I’d want there to be a little more drama surrounding the announcement.
Beat the Number
Let me be clear, I HATE this particular pregame form of entertainment. The light-hearted contest invokes every talking head involved in that particular night’s program and could not be more basic.
The idea is simple, which player will score more points (that night) than his to-date scoring average?
Using the example from above, if Andre Drummond scores 25 points, Derrick Rose scores 20, and Luke Kennard 14, then Johnny Kane and Tim McCormick win. Congrats?
The kicker, though, is the halftime update:
As if Beat the Number has the streets buzzing and requires an update.
If they all stopped playing this game immediately, would you care? Me neither. Moving forward, more Special Delivery and less Beat the Number, please.
Who’s with me?