So I wanted to write a story about this a while ago but I wasn't sure if there would be any backlash in case I was the only one with this sentiment. However, with the recent rumors of Joel Meyers being replaced at season's end on the Lakers' television coverage by radio play-by-play announcer Spero Dedes, I thought there was no better time than now to express my dislike of Joel. Feel free to agree or disagree as I go on. Dislike might be too strong of a word, but I will say that I miss the ability to watch a Lakers' game on tv and the radio on without having about a six second delay between action. That was great during the first three-peat when the last couple of round of the playoffs are only national telecasts.
First off, we would all be so lucky if we ever are graced with someone who can even hold a candle to Chick Hearn. I still think about Chick's calls not only during Lakers' games but during memories I have of great Lakers' games. And I am sure, like others here, we only know the added contribution that Chick would have brought to these most recent championship runs. In fact, while writing this I see how blessed we are as Angelenos because I still get to hear Vinny calling Dodgers' games. I could go on and on about Vinny and Chick, but I won't. Suffice to say, every Lakers' broadcaster will have to live in the enormous shadow of Chick as we have a constant reminder of him hanging from the Staples Center rafters with his retired microphone.
Back to Joel. I will give credit where credit is due. He calls a fair game. Somewhat in the same vein as Chick, Joel is quick to criticize the Lakers when criticism is necessary. I have been watching many different NBA teams on the internet now thanks to the recommendation of firstrowsports.eu and I can't believe the amount of total homer announcers from the other teams. Chicago's color commentator has got to be the biggest offender. Everybody on Chicago never does anything wrong and the other team fouls relentlessly but doesn't get called for it. The Portland guys are pretty bad too. We don't need an announcer to be a shameless apologist for the team. We expect greatness from the Lakers and we know when they are not living up to that greatness. Don't sugarcoat it for us. Rip them a new one on the air if it calls for it. Chick was always the first critic of the Lakers with Stu backing him right up immediately. That is a good point in Joel's favor. Thank you for that over the last few seasons.
Continuing with Joel. I've talked mostly about this when I watch Lakers' games with my dad. I haven't seen anyone mentioning these in the game threads on SS&R so this might be a "glass-shattering" moment. (Those of you who watch "How I Met Your Mother" will know what I mean). Listening to Joel call a game is like getting a math lesson. If the Lakers are up by 19 points and the opponent scores a basket he very often follows it up by saying, "Now the lead is down to 17" or "All of a sudden, the lead is down to 17." That is certainly not necessary on a telecast and it may go back to the fact that he was a radio guy for the Spurs, I think. Scores and deficits are good on radio because you can't see the score at all times, obviously. And Joel isn't even doing a simulcast like Chick always used to. This might be small potatoes but it adds up over the course of a season and I can't say that I will miss it if Joel is done.
Next on the list, how many times have you heard Joel say, "You can't leave a shooter" or "How can you leave a shooter?" I, for one, much prefer opponents taking three pointers. The hot shooting on threes very seldom lasts for an entire game and I am a firm believer that a teams lives by the three and dies by the three. The Lakers must be doing something right because year after year they are among the league leaders in 3 pt FG% defense. And beyond that, sometimes it is desirable to leave certain shooters open, i.e. Vince Carter, John Wall, Rajon Rondo, Shawn Marion, Richard Jefferson, Mike Conley, Jr. If those guys make the shot, you say "Good Shot" and carry on. Odds are they won't make it again. I'm certain that nearly every player in the league shoots better when they are closer to the basket. There could be some strange outlier but the bottom line is to keep them away from the hoop. Also, these are professional teams. They run plays to get players open for shots. It happens. As long as it doesn't happen too much then I don't mind. Again, things like this from an announcer add up over the course of a season.
Another small thing that gets to me, once it was pointed out, is how during the early first quarter of a game Joel will tell me that the Lakers are out to their largest lead of the game. And I think to myself, "It's 8-2. I hope they get a bigger lead at some point during this game. Thanks, Joel." Again, if you don't know what I am talking about then these things won't bother you but I also will not miss that.
I also must say that I am glad the Lakers only play the Hawks twice during the season. I know that Marvin Williams was drafted before Chris Paul and Deron Williams and that nobody would have drafted in that order now. That's what happens during the draft. We hear about it when the Lakers play the Hawks and we hear about it when the Lakers play the Jazz and Hornets as well. Now I guess we will hear it when the Lakers play the Nets since D-Will is over there now.
Despite all the complaints I just put out there I still prefer to watch every Lakers' broadcast I can with their announcers. I have thought about switching to the national broadcasters but I don't think that would be the better alternative. I did give credit to Joel calling an honest game and being critical of the Lakers. I never look forward to the ABC trio of Breen, Jackson, and Van Gundy. Van Gundy and Jackson call it okay because of their experience in the league but waste too much time on nonsense. Then there is Breen who seems terrified to disagree with any official even if it is a blatant error, which happens sometimes. Van Gundy and Jackson give some credibility to those national broadcasts. I also don't need the love fests that the national broadcasts give to the unsung players like Chris "Crackhead" Andersen in the 2009 WCFs, Marcin Gortat in the 2009 Finals, and Glen Davis in the 2010 Finals.
On that same note, I would personally like to welcome Spero to the television microphone if the rumors are indeed true. I think he calls a great game and I have also seen some of the national broadcasts that he has done. I believe in his spare time he has done college basketball broadcasts and NFL broadcasts. As early as last season I heard that he was pegged to go on to call national games. I'm not sure what one needs to be on the fast track in sports broadcasting but apparently Spero has it. I'm also glad that the rumors say that Stu will stay on as the color commentator. He deserves it and should be able to stay with the Lakers organization for as long as he wants.
Thanks for sticking with me through this if you made it this far. I'm looking forward to the rest of the season and a push to the 3-peat.
What is your opinion on the rumor of Spiro Dedes replacing Joel Meyers as the Lakers' television play-by-play announcer?
I love it (29 votes)
I like it (20 votes)
I don't like it (26 votes)
I hate it (9 votes)
84 total votes