Different Grizzlies rocking the mic
There is still one month before the Memphis Grizzlies open up their training camp for the upcoming 2004-05 N.B.A. season, but already they have announced a lineup change. No players weren't involved. The shift was in the team's broadcast personnel.
Don Poier, who has handled the radio broadcast for the team since their inception in Vancouver in 1995, will be moving to the team's television broadcasts. Poier's color analyst on the TV games will be Michael Cage, a former NBA player.
Poier, who expressed his interest in staying on the radio side, agreed to the switch when Randy Stephens, vice-president of broadcast operations, agreed to allow Poier to switch back to the radio broadcast on games that will not be televised by the team.
Joining the Grizzlies as their new radio voice will be Pete Pranica, the former TV broadcaster for the Portland Trail Blazers. He recently was on the NBC's announcing team for the Athens 2004 Olympics. Staying on as the team's radio color commentator will be Sean Tuohy.
"They asked would I be interested in doing television," Poier said recently when the change was announced. "I said, 'Not really. I don't want to give up doing every game.' I have been since the team started. I wanted to continue."
After confirming with Stephens that he be allowed to do all the TV games while also switching back to the radio side when a game isn't televised, the team agreed, and so did Poier.
Poier served a dual role on the broadcasts when the team was in Vancouver, when he spent five years providing play-by-play on the Grizzlies radio and TV simulcast.
Cage, a 15-year NBA veteran, began his career with the Los Angeles Clippers during the 1994 season and played with five different teams before retiring as a New Jersey Net after the 1999-2000 season.
Tuohy, a former player for the University of Mississippi Rebels, will remain the team's color analyst regardless of who is handling the radio broadcast.
"We have a new arena, a new identity and are now excited about having our new broadcast teams," Stephens said recently when announcing the change with the broadcasting teams. "With Michael Cage joining Don Poier on the television and Pete Pranica working along side Sean Tuohy on the radio we should have as versatile and talented a group of broadcasters as any team in the NBA."
The broadcasting switch came about because of the departure of last year's TV announcing crew, Matt Devlin and Hersey Hawkins. Devlin left the Grizzlies for a similar position with the expansion Charlotte Bobcats. Hawkins has retired.
"The difference between the media, in TV you're captioning the picture. In radio, you're painting the picture. The whole idea is to have a story-telling theme," Pranica recently told The Memphis Commercial Appeal. "I love the game, I'm excited about the game. My feeling is if I'm excited and I'm enthused about what I'm seeing, and communicating that to the fans, then I'm doing my job."
Besides working with the game broadcasts for the Portland Trail Blazers, Pranica has also worked for the Detroit Pistons broadcast team.