by Micah Hart
One of the things we want to do here at All Ball is introduce you to many of the people working around the league who you may not know – broadcasters, team personnel, even players who may not get much attention.
We begin our series with Miami Heat broadcaster Eric Reid. Reid has been with the Heat since the franchise began in 1988-89, when the team lost a then NBA-record 17 straight to start the season (since broken by last year’s woeful New Jersey Nets squad, which lost 18 straight). He’s seen a lot of basketball since then, ranging from the awful (the Heat’s first few seasons as an expansion franchise) to the brilliant (Miami’s 2006 NBA championship run). Now, on the cusp of covering what may be the biggest media circus in the history of the NBA, we reached out to Reid to get to know him a little better and get his take on the upcoming season.
All Ball: You’ve been with the Heat since the franchise began – how much has your job changed from that first season up until now?
Eric Reid: I am beginning my 23rd season with the Miami Heat and for a long time now the essence of my job has not changed. As the television play-by play announcer (SunSports) I prepare diligently for every telecast and enjoy telling the story of each Heat game, night after night, win or lose, year after year. This will be my 20th season doing the play-by-play. The first three years of the franchise I did color commentary on the team’s simulcast and worked alongside Sam Smith. In year four, I experienced change moving back to my natural position of play by play. It was the last year we did both television and radio together and the first season the Heat made the playoffs. It was a season I will always cherish. The following year we separated the broadcasts and I moved exclusively to television.
It has been a great NBA journey broadcasting for the Heat; from expansion team in 1988 to the NBA Championship in 2006. And now this, a chance to cover a championship contender – a team built to win big with the two of the game’s greatest and most exciting players on earth. We will enjoy every minute of this season and beyond.
All Ball: You’ve called a lot of games in that time – is there a moment or game in particular that stands out in your mind as the most memorable?
Eric Reid: I have called over 1600 regular season Heat games and many playoff games as well. It is hard to single out just one game, moment or player, but Dwyane Wade has given us some of the greatest feats we have ever witnessed on a basketball court. Our best moment was simply witnessing the Heat’s Game Six win in Dallas, June 20th, 2006 to capture the franchise’s first NBA title, winning four straight games after falling behind 2-0 in the series. Those four wins, led by Wade’s greatness, were a sight to behold and remember. I will also never forget what I consider to be the Heat’s second best road playoff win, Game Six at New York in 1997. It was the first of four consecutive Playoff series between these two teams and all four series went the maximum number of games. The Knicks led this second round series 3-2 and Miami was faced with elimination if they lost. The Heat were trying to force a seventh game back in Miami but playing without their starting power forward, PJ Brown, who was suspended (the infamous flip of Charlie Ward, near the end of the Heat’s Game 5 win at home). Pat Riley told his Heat before this game that someone else had to play with the heart of PJ. Miami won an emotional game at Madison Square Garden, 95-90. The two biggest plays were an unlikely three-pointer from Alonzo Mourning (28 points) and a chase-down, game-saving blocked shot by Ike Austin, who did help fill the void left by Brown. The Heat went on to win Game 7 behind Tim Hardaway’s 38 points and advanced for the first time to the Conference Finals. It was thrilling.