Mike Breen is used to calling NBA history. Tonight, he’ll make it.
Game 5 in Denver (8:30 ET, ABC) between the Nuggets and Miami Heat will mark Breen’s 100th NBA Finals game. That milestone is the most ever for a national NBA play-by-play voice. The distinction places the Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer in an exclusive club of broadcasters – national and local – across sports who have crossed the 100 championship game threshold.
Breen is in his 18th season calling the NBA Finals, first becoming the event’s voice in 2006 (watch an excerpt of his opening in the video above).
Front Row caught up with ESPN commentators who know him best. The lineup includes close friend and fellow Fordham University alum Michael Kay, a pair of Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame broadcasters Doris Burke and Hubie Brown, fellow 2023 Sports Emmy Award-winner Lisa Salters, and his longtime boothmates Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson.
I’m so proud of Mike. I’ve known him since 1980, when we would have lunch together at the Fordham Campus Center and talk about our dreams. His was to be the voice of the [New York] Knicks, and he did that while going on to be the voice of the NBA. No one deserves their exalted position more than my best friend. He treats everyone with respect and receives it back, as he should.”
– Michael Kay, host of ESPN New York’s The Michael Kay Show and ESPN+’s KayRod Cast
Mike is at the top of his profession because he prepares for a regular season game like it’s an NBA Finals game. His love of NBA basketball comes through every broadcast. He respects the players, coaches, and referees and their path that has led them to great heights in their chosen profession. Mike is beloved by everyone in the NBA and has become an iconic figure for fans over the years.
– ESPN NBA analyst Jeff Van Gundy
It’s an honor to work with Mike, a guy I consider the GOAT in the business. To be part of The 100 Club – it’s an incredible feat, and I’m proud to call him a friend for life.
— ESPN NBA analyst Mark Jackson
Mike Breen is the consummate pro and an incredible caretaker of the NBA Finals. From the iconic calls, the historic “Bang!” to the closing NBA Finals soliloquy, which puts the series in context, Mike does it all humbly and with incredible passion. – ESPN NBA analyst Doris Burke
A toast to excellence at the highest level. Mike Breen brings leadership, knowledge, and total preparation to every NBA television assignment. I cherish my time by his side every season.”
– ESPN NBA Analyst and Basketball Hall of Famer Hubie Brown
Mike is an icon — the voice of an entire generation when it comes to NBA broadcasting. That’s just a fact. But, he’s also a great leader and friend — it’s a privilege to be on his team. – ESPN NBA Reporter Lisa Salters
Other photo credits: Kay and Breen: Courtesy of Michael Kay’s social media; Van Gundy and Breen: Gabriella Ricciard/ESPN Images; Jackson and Breen: Burke and Breen: Ben Solomon/ESPN Images; Brown and Breen: Sam Jordan/ESPN Images