Commentator evaluation: Mike Breen

Rate Mike Breen as an NBA play-by-play commentator:

  • 5 stars - the best (or jointly the best) in the business at what he does

    Votes: 9 18.8%
  • 4.5 stars

    Votes: 7 14.6%
  • 4 stars - very good at what he does, but a notch below the very best

    Votes: 7 14.6%
  • 3.5 stars

    Votes: 5 10.4%
  • 3 stars - about average; competent, but not much more than that

    Votes: 3 6.3%
  • 2.5 stars

    Votes: 4 8.3%
  • 2 stars - substandard; lucky to still be making a living at this

    Votes: 10 20.8%
  • 1.5 stars

    Votes: 1 2.1%
  • 1 star - should be fired tomorrow for gross incompetence

    Votes: 1 2.1%
  • No opinion (don't know him or his work)

    Votes: 1 2.1%

  • Total voters
    48
That would be new Curt Gowdy Award winner and Hall of Fame entrant Mike Breen, of course. Let's get this series back on the road with a commentator who was requested a while ago in another of these threads, and whose work I think will be more polarizing than the award he's just received (or the recent/current NBA Reddit thread in which the award is discussed) might suggest. How do you rate Breen's commentary work?
 

Light-Tower-Power

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Jun 14, 2013
9,002
My signature line says it all. I think he's technically skilled at play by play. He's very good a describing the action on the floor but sometimes his shtick can be over the top and irritating. Worst of all, he's a total shill for the league to the point where it's laughable. You'll rarely hear him criticize a call or an official no matter what the replay shows. Of course this is just going off his national work. He could be different on MSG but I don't watch Knicks games and I certainly don't watch them on MSG.

FWIW my favorite national NBA PBP guy is Brian Anderson with Ian Eagle coming in a close second.
 

jon abbey

Shanghai Warrior
Dope
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Jul 15, 2005
48,676
I don't think he does this anymore but for years and years, every single time anyone got a technical foul for any reason, he acted like they had mass-murdered a group of nuns, so indignant about how anyone could be so selfish to hurt their team like that and how frequently one point decided a game. The specifics of the situation were irrelevant, the same mini-rant every time, it was really stupid.

Anyway, I have wanted to vent about that for years, so thanks. In general, he is fine to me, and it is pretty easy to sound good sitting next to Mark Jackson, who is a tire fire.
 
Jul 18, 2019
5
Breen is often good locally on the Knicks broadcast but is consistently grating on ESPN/ABC telecasts. He gets cast as a LeBron suck up and I think he’s deserved that, he makes the most of dealing with JVH/Jackson who are unbearable. He could be better but he’s fine most of the time.
 

Kliq

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Mar 31, 2013
11,467
Breen has a good voice and is technically very good at the job. His ESPN broadcasts just suck so hard, and I know that a big part of that is having to work with JVG and Jackson, but I can't rate him very high when I absolutely dread his broadcasts. One of the NBA's biggest problems is that that crew calls all of their biggest games.
 

lars10

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Jul 31, 2007
6,360
He's never seen a foul that wasn't called or seen a foul that was called that was incorrect. Complete shill for the NBA and never says anything but the obvious information that is going on in front of him. LeBron has never done anything he'd ever criticize. At least JVG occasionally says something that lets you know that he thinks for himself. Breen makes every single ESPN game less enjoyable.. and the fact that he gets most of the playoffs makes it even worse. Other than that he's about average for ESPN coverage.
 

jon abbey

Shanghai Warrior
Dope
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Jul 15, 2005
48,676
He's never seen a foul that wasn't called or seen a foul that was called that was incorrect. Complete shill for the NBA and never says anything but the obvious information that is going on in front of him. LeBron has never done anything he'd ever criticize. At least JVG occasionally says something that lets you know that he thinks for himself. Breen makes every single ESPN game less enjoyable.. and the fact that he gets most of the playoffs makes it even worse. Other than that he's about average for ESPN coverage.
I'm not sure it's a play by play guy's job to do anything but describe the action. I think it's ok if they add commentary and opinions but I wouldn't slam guys who don't, maybe that's just me.
 

lars10

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Jul 31, 2007
6,360
I'm not sure it's a play by play guy's job to do anything but describe the action. I think it's ok if they add commentary and opinions but I wouldn't slam guys who don't, maybe that's just me.
You're probably right. I was trying to think of things to say other than "I can't stand him and all his stupid catch phrases". I also grew up listening to Johnny Most who did play by play, but added quite a bit of color. He was also a massive homer..but he liked my team.

I imagine if I were a Knicks fan and grew up with Breen that maybe I'd feel differently, but to me he's really kind of a generic pbp man who has seemed (to me) to get a lot of pleasure in the Celts losing over the years.. or maybe just getting a lot of pleasure in anything LeBron has done (which happened to include beating the Celts).
 

cornwalls@6

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Apr 23, 2010
1,307
from the wilds of western ma
As someone who’s drifted quite a bit from the NBA, I haven’t paid that close attention to him as a national play by play guy. I did think he was very funny when he used to do the sports flashes on Imus in the morning, years ago on WFAN. Ironically a big part of his act was to sarcastically mock cookie cutter, cliche spouting, rah rah sportscasters. Sounds like that’s what he basically is these days.
 
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Philip Jeff Frye

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Oct 23, 2001
7,115
Yeah, I don't follow his NBA work very closely, but he was very good back in the day on WFAN. Not just as an update guy but as a guy taking calls (on the weekends maybe?) too.
 

pantsparty

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May 2, 2011
412
I can see that on a technical level he's a good PBP announcer, but for the same reasons others have mentioned I absolutely can't stand the guy.