Mike Tirico ready for Game 7, the ‘biggest NBA game’ he’s ever called

Analyst Hubie Brown (left) joins play-by-play commentator Mike Tirico for NBA Finals coverage on ESPN Radio. (Don Juan Moore/ESPN Images)
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Tonight’s Game 7 of the NBA Finals marks the third deciding game of The Finals to air on ABC. The previous two were in 2005 (San Antonio Spurs over Detroit Pistons) and in 2010 (Los Angeles Lakers over Boston Celtics). Both the Spurs and the Lakers were the home teams.
NOTE: ESPN’s Bruce Bowen and P.J. Carlesimo were part of the 2005 Spurs team.

ESPN and ABC’s Game 7 history also includes five Stanley Cup Final deciding games (all won by the home team):

1987 Philadelphia – Edmonton* (ESPN)
1994 Vancouver – New York Rangers* (ESPN)
2001 Colorado* – New Jersey (ABC)
2003 New Jersey* – Anaheim (ABC)
2004 Calgary – Tampa* (ABC)

*Stanley Cup Champion[/box]

Editor’s note: ABC and ESPN Radio will present NBA Finals Game 7 tonight at 9 p.m. ET. Game 7 is also available on ESPN Deportes, ESPN3 and WatchESPN).

Tonight, the 2013 NBA Finals will reach its epic conclusion when the defending champion Miami Heat — led by reigning league MVP LeBron James — host the San Antonio Spurs and four-time champion Tim Duncan.

While the game itself might be too close to call, one thing’s for sure: ESPN has the right play-by-play commentators on the job. Mike Breen will call the game on ABC with analyst Jeff Van Gundy and reporter Doris Burke, while Mike Tirico will describe the action on ESPN Radio with analyst Hubie Brown and reporter Marc Stein. Tirico graciously spent a few minutes of his hectic Game 7 schedule to talk about his favorite championship moments, painting the championship picture for radio listeners and how he’s leaving his trusty NBA Finals notebook behind.

What are your favorite championship moments during your career?
This July will make it 17 years in the 18th Tower at Golf’s Open Championship and without question, Jean Van de Velde’s collapse in 1999 and Tiger Woods’ completing the career Grand Slam at St. Andrew’s in 2000 stand at the top of my list. Tonight will be my fourth time calling the end of the NBA Finals on ESPN Radio, but the first time it comes in a Game 7, so this is certainly the biggest NBA game I have ever called.

What are you most focused on when calling a game of this magnitude for radio listeners?
The clear difference between radio and TV is trying to capture the many scenes. Confetti falling, players hugging, and a dejected team walking off the court are all easy to see on TV with a few quick camera cuts. On radio, painting the picture for the listeners becomes paramount. Hopefully we can capture the Championship moment for those who can’t see it.

Will you prepare any differently for Game 7?
Actually, the NBA Finals notebook I bring with me to every game is staying in the hotel room tonight. I am just going to bring my Game 7 notes to the arena. At this point everything that has happened before has little significance. Whatever happens tonight will be remembered forever and I want to make sure I spend all of my attention, energy and time on what is happening in front of me.

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