Jim Nantz is the standard in broadcasting.
An Emmy Award Winner, Nantz, 59, is one of the youngest recipients of the Basketball Hall of Fame’s Curt Gowdy award for broadcasting.
The voice of The Masters, NFL On CBS, NCAA March Madness, Madden Football, and a list of other things, he is the golden voice!
Million and two dollar question: Has Jim Nantz called a perfect game yet?
Nantz and I discussed that and more in our Q&A below:
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: Do you remember your first game?
Jim Nantz: My first NCAA tournament game? Or my first game ever?
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: Your first game, period.
Jim Nantz: Yeah I do. I did a Rice game, Rice University at Clemson. I was 20 years old and I was a University of Houston student, I filled in for the play-by-play voice of Rice University basketball… they had a player named Ricky Pierce who went on to play in the NBA and had a good career, Rice did, so they were invited to one of those early season tournament games, tournaments. A four team-tournament… Fairfield was there, Colgate, Rice and Clemson… it was early December 1979 or ’80. And anyway I got to go call the came back to Houston Radio to a 50,000 watt radio station and it was a thrill, it was a big thrill. It was my first, my first tournament game, Duke against Old Dominion and that was in March of 1986 and my partner, my broadcast partner, was Bill Raftery. Who all these years later is still my partner. So it’s pretty cool.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: How many times do you think you messed up in your first game that you covered?
Jim Nantz: How about my last game, how about my most recent game? (laughs) I mean I think the percentage is probably a little lower now but I think that what you have to learn for any broadcaster is that you are live, you are human, you are going to make mistakes, you’re gonna phrase a little awkwardly once in a while… you might have a name that’s a little off, but you gotta learn how to forgive yourself, cut yourself some slack and move on. But I’m sure I made a load of mistakes, you know I walked off that day though thinking ‘Hey! This was pretty good!’. But I probably went back and listened to that tape which I don’t think it exists, I would probably try to make sure I could buy up all the copies if there were any out so no one heard it.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: Time and place and year you were the closest to calling your perfect game, close to perfect game?
Jim Nantz: You know I don’t think that exists, I really don’t. I feel vindicated, I feel fulfilled as a play-by-play man when my analysts text ‘good game’. That’s the goal for me, so maybe it would be the championship game in Houston 3 years ago, Villanova/North Carolina, Chris Jenkins hit the winning shot. I was really happy with the end of the game sequence and how we covered the winning shot and how it was called and how it was set up, how Grant interjected right before I made the call for the championship he said “watch out for Jenkins!” and I said “they get it over to Jenkins for the championship!” and it was like two guys at a hyper moment were weaving together their commentary without stepping on one another all in a matter of milliseconds and being able to deliver the timing of the line spot on but more than that the rest of the game, you can’t boil a broadcast down to 4.6 seconds, you’ve gotta go over the 2 hours and say how was it? And I remember that game it felt really, sharp. It felt like things were clicking with Raft and Grant and myself so maybe that would be it, I’ve never thought about it that way but I’d nominate that one as the closest maybe I’ve come.