Longtime Miami Heat TV play-by-play man—and Boca resident—Eric Reid weighs in on LeBron James, his connection to Madison Square Garden and a valuable lesson he learned behind the radio microphone.
On the Heat’s recent dominance: “We’re never arrogant on the air about the Heat’s success. Especially me. I was there when we weren’t winning. And there may be a day when that happens again. ... Twenty-five years in, I’m old enough and wise enough to understand just how unique and special this time with the Heat is. We may never see another team quite like this group.”
On LeBron James: “I think it’s unfair to LeBron that he’s constantly compared to Michael Jordan. He’s in the prime of his career, and he still has a long career ahead. People will be comparing other players to LeBron one day. ... His love for the game, his respect for the history of the game, his devotion to his teammates. That adds to what makes him so special.”
On Madison Square Garden: “My father was a season-ticket holder for the Knicks; I was at Game 7 in the Garden when the Knicks won their first NBA championship [in 1970]. … There isn’t a game in the Garden where I don’t go back to the seats where my dad and I sat for all those years. I’ll take five minutes before those games and think about my first life in the NBA, watching the Knicks with my father.”
On starting his 26th season with the Heat: “I’m exactly where I want to be. The job has gotten more precious for me as the years go by. ... I’ve been a part of telling the story of this franchise through its entire history. I could go nowhere else and feel that way.”
On the art of radio play-by-play: “The greatest example of what radio is all about happened to me doing Cornell University basketball. There was a professor at the college named Daniel Sisler. He had lost his eyesight [at age 25, while serving in the Air Force during the Korean War], but he was a huge college basketball fan. ...
“So I’m doing a Cornell game, and Professor Sisler comes and sits with us and puts on a headset. He asked me during a break, ‘What does this player look like?’ So I came back on the air and started describing players with more detail ... That one night calling the game for a blind professor was so eye-opening for me as far as what the job was all about. I think I would have been great back in the days with no TV, when people huddled around the radio to listen to games. I loved describing the action for people who couldn’t see it.”