The public address announcer sits in the background, yet courtside. He goes relatively unknown, but he’s kind of a big deal. He is what Ron Burgundy is to parties, bringing life to the arena. This is dedicated to the under-appreciated PA announcer guy.
When Ted Leonsis holds open tryouts for the voice that could be bellowing John Wall’s name for the next 10 years, cuing mad cheering and perhaps some tea-kettle dancing, it’s more than worth taking the stroll from work to the Verizon Center to check it out.
Over 200 applied but only 50 were invited to boom their pipes alongside the freshly painted (cured) Georgetown and Wizards basketball floors. As I arrived for the main event, that number had been narrowed done to 16. The mic was then cut on and the sound system turned up. The audition provided a good sample of general game announcements (fouls, scoring plays and PSAs), an ad-lib to Kiss Cam B-roll, and finally, lineup introductions.
The original plan was to pick a single winner from the 16 performances, but it was clearly much too hard to distinguish one voice from the crowd. Five stood out to Leonsis and his decision makers, so they were asked to do the lineup again … but with more energy, more uniqueness. Below you’ll find a brief profile of each, along with video of their final lineup announcement and an interview.