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Mike Breen has responded to ESPN disbanding his NBA broadcast team after letting both Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson go due to the network’s restructuring plan.
“It’s sad because we really thought we had something special and we were able to do it a lot longer than anybody ever did,” Breen told the New York Post. “It’s something we’ll all treasure, but we just wish it was a little bit longer.”
“You don’t expect it, because it was such a great team and to have it completely broken up was a surprise,” he continue
ESPN’s NBA broadcast team was highly respected and largely considered one of the best booths across sports; their timing, familiarity with each other and the game, as well as personalities all resonated with the viewer. Not to mention, they actually made the NBA exciting to watch!
ESPN FIGURING OUT DIRECTION OF COMPANY
ESPN began its second round of layoffs across the company in late June. It was then that Van Gundy found that not only would he no longer be broadcasting with his longtime partner Breen, but that he would be gone from the network entirely. The two had covered 16 NBA seasons together.
Mark Jackson was released this past week.
In a statement, Jackson said that he was “shocked and dismayed” about being let go, while also giving well wishes to his successors. Breen told the Post that Jackson’s reaction shows just why their three-man broadcast booth worked so well, it was like family.
“I’m amazed at how well they deal with these things and it’s one of the reasons why I’ve always looked up to them and how they handle stuff,” Breen said. “It wasn’t a surprise to me how they handled it with such grace.”
Doris Burke and former Celtics, Clippers and Sixers coach Doc Rivers are expected to join Breen as the new A team for NBA coverage on ESPN.
Burke is well respected by her peers and fans. And Mike Breen, of course, is consistently known as one of the best broadcasters of all-time.
As I’ve previously written, there is something uniquely special when it comes to a sports fan and broadcasters. Although Breen, Jackson and Van Gundy were the network’s national team and covered a variety of matchups, fans were able to turn on the game and have that “comfort” of knowing the broadcasters.
There are unconfirmed reports that ESPN made the broadcast cuts because of Van Gundy and Jackson’s criticism about the NBA and their workload management problem.
The NBA will open their regular season on October 17th.