This isn’t original, but I wish I were as sure about anything as Tim Brando is about everything when he talks basketball.
Perhaps that’s what sets the great broadcasters apart from the crowd — deeply embedded conviction.
The Louisiana native is superb when he anchors the sports desk for CBS during the football season.
But put him behind the microphone in Chapel Hill or Durham, or at a Big East venue, to call a basketball game, and he’s simply on another level.
I caught up with the Sporting News Radio anchor in the middle of last week at his home (Chateau Brando) in Shreveport, La., before he was headed out to another assignment.
There was a hint of distress in his voice when he reflected on this lackluster college basketball season.
“It’s all about the tournaments,” Brando said. “The regular season interest level has diminished dramatically with the sports calendar engulfing it. With the Super Bowl moving into February; with college football’s emergence becoming more of a national sport and less a regional sport; and football signing day is big. There are just too many items on the sports calendar. We’re just a quick fix society, and the casual hoops fan figures he can tune in on Selection Sunday and get his three-week fix and that’s it.”
Brando and his sidekick, Mike Gminski, broadcast the North Carolina-Duke game earlier this month for CBS.
He’s convinced you’ve absolutely achieved Nirvana when you get that assignment.
“It’s always fun to be a part of it and call that game,” said Brando, who turned 55 on Sunday. “I think it’s the best assignment of the regular season a broadcaster can get. I don’t care if ESPN’s got it outside the ACC area, and I’ve only got it inside the ACC. It’s huge, and you feel it every time you’re there. The Duke-North Carolina game regular season, both of ’em, is the best environment in college basketball short of, and I mean this, short of the Final Four. Bigger than a regional final. I mean it’s that big.”
Between 1984 and 1995 Brando called 25 different sports for ESPN. There’s one he’d like to touch base with again.
“Oh, it’s gotta be golf,” Brando said. “I’ve been with the network 16 years. I’m hoping someday, maybe when Vern (Lundquist) retires or there’s other graduation at CBS at some point I’ll get a chance to slide in, maybe just on select weekends.”
You hear people at all levels of broadcasting, especially sports, say it’s so much fun, they feel they’ve never worked a day in their lives.
Brando’s perspective is a little different.
“As I get older,” Brando said, “I want to point out that there are sacrifices and risks and things that we make to get where we want to go in such a competitive business. That’s the work part. It’s not a job; it’s a way of life. It’s not a career; it’s a way of life.”