UNCASVILLE, Conn. — ESPN’s Michael Wilbon and Mike Breen had been honored with the print and broadcast variations of the Curt Gowdy Award on Friday evening as a part of the Naismith Basketball Corridor of Fame’s 2020 class of inductees.
Wilbon, who spent 30 years at The Washington Publish along with spending the previous 20 years because the host of Pardon The Interruption, amongst different roles at ESPN, and Breen, the longtime play-by-play man for each the New York Knicks and the NBA on ESPN, who has known as the NBA Finals a record-setting 14 instances since 2006, have each been fixtures within the basketball world for over a technology.
In accepting the print award, Wilbon stated he was grateful that the Corridor of Fame is interested by honoring the artwork of storytelling as a part of its annual enshrinement ceremonies.
“I am grateful the Corridor of Fame sees match to honor the most effective in reporting and broadcasting basketball,” Wilbon stated, “particularly when the artwork of storytelling has develop into so vital to consuming all the weather of sport.”
Over these 30 years at The Washington Publish, Wilbon hung out across the largest names in basketball, together with Magic Johnson and Charles Barkley, with whom he wrote two best-selling books. All three had been within the viewers Friday evening, and he thanked every individually.
He additionally thanked a number of individuals who have died not too long ago who had an impression on his profession, together with Corridor of Famers John Chaney, John Thompson, Wes Unseld, Elgin Baylor and Kobe Bryant, who’s a part of this yr’s class.
“It is an honor to be included wherever the reminiscence of these males is held pricey,” Wilbon stated, “and that fascinating tales could be informed so long as we’re capable of inform them and audiences get to pay attention.”
Wilbon, 62, thanked his spouse, Sheryl, and his son, Matthew, whom he gently chided for his inclination to love gamers of as we speak greater than these previously, joking that he “nonetheless has a lot to be taught.” And he additionally stated that he was glad to be going into the corridor that represents a sport that, he stated, provides minorities the most effective probability to advance.
“I’m grateful to be standing right here tonight as a result of basketball of all sports activities, to borrow from my nice buddy Tony Kornheiser, is possibly the closest factor our society has to a real meritocracy,” Wilbon stated. “The place most likely greater than in any trade an individual of colour can go from taking part in to teaching to being fired to being employed once more.”
He additionally thanked his editors at The Washington Publish, together with longtime sports activities editor George Solomon, who employed him at 21 years outdated.
“Discuss taking a danger,” Wilbon stated with a smile.
Breen, 59, has been the voice of a technology of Knicks and NBA followers, working in New York media for many years — first at WFAN, the nation’s first all-sports radio station, the place he began calling Knicks video games on the radio, and later on the Madison Sq. Backyard community, the place he started calling Knicks video games on tv in 1997.
“I’ve had this huge privilege to name so many nice moments in NBA historical past, however the most effective half, the most effective half, has at all times been the lifetime of friendships that the sport has given me,” Breen stated. “There is a phrase, or a wording that I’ve at all times liked. They are saying the true measure of a person’s wealth is just not how a lot cash he has, however what number of associates he has. If that is true, I might wish to thank all of you for making me really feel just like the richest man alive.”
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Breen thanked Knicks proprietor James Dolan and a number of other members of the entrance workplace — together with president of basketball operations Leon Rose, common supervisor Scott Perry and entrance workplace executives William Wesley and Allan Houston — for being in attendance Friday evening. He additionally thanked his many colour analysts through the years, an inventory that features Corridor of Famers Bill Walton, Hubie Brown and Doug Collins. However he saved particular recognition for his longtime accomplice on Knicks broadcasts, Corridor of Famer Walt “Clyde” Frazier — “who has at all times been my basketball hero” — and longtime ESPN/ABC co-workers Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson, each of whom had been in attendance, as was longtime producer Tim Corrigan.
“These two at all times hate it and so they make enjoyable of me after I get sentimental,” Breen stated of Van Gundy and Jackson, “however I hope you two know simply how a lot you could have meant to me over all these years. I giggle and be taught each single recreation we do collectively. Thanks for a very wonderful experience. I am right here tonight due to our work collectively.”
Breen additionally thanked his spouse, Rosanne, and his kids, Michael, Nicole and Matt, all of whom had been in attendance.
“I’m the world’s luckiest husband, and luckiest father, as a result of daily you fill my coronary heart with love and pleasure,” Breen stated.
Along with Wilbon and Breen, TNT’s longtime pre- and postgame basketball present, “Inside The NBA,” was honored with the Corridor’s inaugural Curt Gowdy Transformative Media Award for its extremely lengthy and profitable run, primarily with Ernie Johnson internet hosting flanked by Kenny Smith, Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal.
“The factor about our group, I believe, it is gone via so many modifications,” Johnson stated throughout an on-stage interview of him, Barkley and O’Neal with ESPN’s Lisa Salters, who hosted Friday evening’s occasion. “I have been there 31 years, and after I was doing the present on my own, then Kenny got here alongside, and also you deliver on the man that is modified the panorama of exhibits we do, Charles Barkley, and also you deliver on the world’s largest 14-year-old, and we’ve the time of our lives.
“You’ll be able to’t predict chemistry, you do not know how it should work, however we love one another. I grew up with three sisters, and that is the closest I shall be to having three brothers.”
In the meantime, Jim Grey was honored with the inaugural Curt Gowdy Media Perception Award; Tim Nugent was honored with the John W. Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award; and Invoice Russell, Wayne Embry and George Raveling got the Mannie Jackson Human Spirit Award.
The remainder of the Corridor of Fame’s star-studded 2020 class, which is led by Bryant, Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett, shall be formally inducted into the Corridor of Fame Saturday evening at 5:30 p.m. on ESPN.
All of Saturday’s inductees had been honored with their blazers throughout Friday evening’s occasion, with Duncan, Garnett and Bryant being honored final.
— Basketball HOF (@Hoophall) May 15, 2021
Duncan’s blazer was placed on by longtime Spurs teammate Tony Parker, whereas Bryant’s spouse, Vanessa, put Bryant’s on their oldest daughter, Natalia. The 2 of them additionally left the occasion with Bryant’s longtime Lakers teammate, Pau Gasol.