A color man for the NBA: Eschbach
I’ve got an idea for the Oklahoma City Thunder. Put Al Eschbach on the radio broadcast team.
I’m serious. When Clay Bennett announced Wednesday that his team’s broadcasts would be heard on the Animal, I immediately thought of Eschbach.
A generation or two of Oklahomans know Eschbach only as the Jersey-accented Animal talk-show host, but in a previous life, 1976-85, Eschbach teamed with John Brooks on OU basketball broadcasts and was very entertaining and informative. Eschbach left the Sooner broadcasts when he changed radio stations; KTOK, his former station and the holder of the OU rights, understandably didn’t want a competitor on its Sooner broadcasts.
Eschbach would need to get up to speed on the NBA, but that can be done. I know, because I did it when the Hornets were here. And frankly, Eschbach needs a new challenge. He’s good on the radio but has been coasting for awhile. He needs something besides OU football and basketball to charge his batteries.
Eschbach would bring personality and a great history of the NBA. He grew up in Jersey City and would take the train to Knickerbocker games in the early ’60s. Who else in OKC was watching live NBA games 45 years ago?
Full disclosure: I do a 40-minute radio segment with Eschbach. We’re friends — known each other more than a quarter century — but we’re not close friends. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten a meal with Eschbach. So this isn’t some kind of buddy campaign. No one asked me to do this. In fact, I hit Eschbach with this idea 15 minutes after Bennett’s Animal announcement Wednesday. He seemed intrigued by the idea.
The Sonics last season didn’t use a color man on its radio broadcasts. Matt Pinto went solo on the broadcasts. Bennett said Pinto would be part of the OKC broadcast, but it’s not determined whether Pinto will do radio or TV. Bennett also said he thought adding a color man, even if Pinto returns to the radio side, is a good idea.
Al Eschbach could be that man.
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