Thursday’s Phoenix Suns-Denver Nuggets telecast on Altitude TV featured a cool moment for an aspiring broadcaster, courtesy of the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
The Nuggets welcomed 16-year-old Levi Lips for a tour of Ball Arena, taking the stage at a press conference, and getting some shots on the court. He was also interviewed on Altitude TV’s pregame show and announced the game’s starting lineups.
But most importantly for the broadcasting hopeful, via Awful Announcing, Levi got to sit with play-by-play announcer Chris Marlowe and analyst Katy Winge during the second quarter of the Nuggets telecast. Marlowe teased Levi about wanting to take his job, which he’s not ready to give up yet, before turning the mic over for calling some play-by-play.
Just before Levi took over the call, however, there was a funny exchange in which Marlowe offered the board he uses for all of the player information during the broadcast. But the youngster declined, saying he already knows the players pretty well.
Winge teased Marlowe about giving up the mic during a free throw, when there’s not a whole lot of action on the court. But that was probably an astute move by the veteran play-by-play broadcaster, giving Levi a chance to survey who was on the court and get his bearings.
Levi quickly learned just how much you have to talk while calling play-by-play, more than a fan might guess. And he was surely nervous, as most any non-professional would be in that situation. But the high school senior showed his potential with a nice call on DeMarcus Cousins’ three-pointer.
Altitude posted Levi’s interview with Winge on Twitter, giving a wider audience a chance to see it on social media.
As detailed on the Levi’s Prayer Warriors Facebook page, Lips required brain surgery at just 10 months old to prevent him from a number of seizures he was experiencing. In 2019, Levi had a seizure for the first time in 14 years. A subsequent seizure caused a fall resulting in a concussion. An exam revealed a brain tumor.
During surgery to remove the tumor, Levi suffered a stroke and was paralyzed on his left side. Since then, he’s undergone physical and occupational therapy to regain function and control.
Judging from the videos above, Levi appears to be recovering very nicely and he’ll attend Utah State in the fall to study broadcast journalism. And thanks to Make-A-Wish, the Nuggets, and Altitude TV, he got to experience a special evening. Hopefully, it’s just the first step in a properous life and broadcasting career. Many of us will be able to say this is the first time we saw and heard Levi Lips on the call.
Ian Casselberry is a sports media columnist for BSM. He has previously written and edited for Awful Announcing, The Comeback, Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, MLive, Bleacher Report, and SB Nation. You can find him on Twitter @iancass or reach him by email at email@example.com.
FanDuel TV Strikes Deal With ONE Championship Martial Arts
“We’ve long respected the content the ONE Championship team is producing and are looking forward to bringing their action to our audience through FanDuel TV and FanDuel+.”
FanDuel TV and ONE Championship Martial Arts have struck a deal that will see the MMA, Muay Thai, kickboxing, and submission grappling series air weekly events on the newly launched channel.
“We’re eager to continue expanding the variety of content we’re offering at FanDuel TV to introduce our audience to emerging sports,” said FanDuel Chief Commercial Officer Mike Raffensperger. “We’ve long respected the content the ONE Championship team is producing and are looking forward to bringing their action to our audience through FanDuel TV and FanDuel+.”
ONE Championship is a top-five global sports property for digital viewership and engagement according to Nielsen measurements.
“We are thrilled to join the FanDuel TV lineup and give our passionate U.S. audience yet another way to engage with ONE Championship,” said ONE Championship Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong. “Having a quality partner in FanDuel will help raise the profile of our company in the region and provide their viewers with action-packed martial arts events like they have never seen before.”
Bob Costas Re-Lives First Announcing Assignment For NBC
“My biography usually says I began with them in 1980, but technically the first time I was on the air with them was in December 1979.”
Legendary sports broadcaster Bob Costas appeared on KNBR’s Tolbert & Copes Thursday to discuss the death of Baseball Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry. But before the conversation turned to the recently departed pitcher, the show asked Costas about what he has announced that would surprise someone. He reminisced about his first time on the air for NBC.
“My very first assignment for NBC, my biography usually says I began with them in 1980, but technically the first time I was on the air with them was in December 1979,” Costas recounted. “There was a program on NBC then called Sports World. It was an anthology series that was their answer to the gold standard, ABC’s Wide World of Sports.
“So they traveled the globe, like Wide World of Sports did. So they sent me, wearing a red NBC jacket, to Tokyo to cover a sumo wrestling tournament with seven-time world power-lifting champion Larry Pacifico as my color man. Now, this is all the Japanese I learned as we came on the air: ‘Minasan kon’nichwa watashinoamaeha Bob Costas’, which means ‘Hello everyone, my name is Bob Costas’. If ever there was typecasting, when they sat and looked at their roster of announcers and went ‘Who should we send to the sumo wrestling? It’s gotta be Costas, who’s entire body weight would constitute one meal for the sumo wrestling champion.”
Costas departed NBC Sports in 2019 after 40 years with the network, announcing MLB, NBA, and the Olympics, in addition to his work with the network’s sumo wrestling coverage.
Matt Leinart, Alex Smith Make Wager Over Pac-12 Championship Game
“I gotta be honest with you: I’m not that nervous. I know that sounds kind of arrogant and confident.”
FOX Sports analyst Matt Leinart and ESPN analyst Alex Smith have made a friendly wager over the upcoming Pac-12 Championship Game.
USC, Leinart’s alma mater, is slated to play Utah, where Smith attended, in the game Friday evening on FOX from Las Vegas.
The two agreed to don the other player’s jersey. “At least it will be 11,” Smith said, noting he and Leinart both wore the number during their playing days.
“I gotta be honest with you: I’m not that nervous,” Leinart said when presented with the offer. “I know that sounds kind of arrogant and confident.” Smith jokingly responded by calling USC “Free Agent University”. He added he would overnight Leinart a jersey to ensure he had one if the Utes were victorious.
Garrett Searight is the Editor of Barrett Sports Media and Barrett News Media. He previously was the Program Director and Afternoon Co-Host on 93.1 The Fan in Lima, OH. He is also a play-by-play announcer for TV and Radio broadcasts in Western Ohio.