10.21.10

His Name Is Gus Johnson, And He Gets Pink-Slipped: Knicks Part Ways With Shouty, Beloved Broadcaster

Posted in Basketball, Sports TV at 10:01 am by

I don’t want to put words in GC’s mouth, but I think it’s fair to say that we’re generally pretty pro-Gus Johnson here at CSTB. When some American hero creates a soundboard of Gus’s greatest/loudest sounds, we unhesitatingly link to it. When he drops an effortless “Pause” on a nonplussed Spike Lee, we are startled and kind of delighted. When he delivers a stylized laugh during games for (um?) emphasis, we are amused by it.

Or at least I am. Doing radio play-by-play and occasional MSG sub gigs for the Knicks over the past few years has no doubt been a depressing gig — “I’m Jared Jeffries, and I get buckets” doesn’t work for at least one very obvious reason — but Johnson has remained generally ebullient and reliably more excitable than average. Johnson’s many side gigs, which have ranged from bummerific MMA matches to a boatload of college hoops games, have probably had a lot to do with that good attitude, but they apparently also led to the bad news that Johnson has been fired as the Knicks’ play-by-play announcer. His MSG bosses were unhappy about all the days off he took to ice his larynx work other broadcasts.

Phil Mushnick, who predictably dislikes Johnson every bit as much as he likes finding old bits of icing in his beard, shows everyone how to write objective news copy in breaking the story at the New York Post:

Gus Johnson, the shouts-a-lot, play-by-play radio voice of the Knicks since the 1997-98 season — and a frequent fill- in for Mike Breen on MSG Network’s Knicks’ telecasts — is out at the Garden, The Post has learned… Johnson’s hype-reliant play-by-play style — he’s easily excited — seems to make him more attractive to broadcasting executives than popular among genuine sports fans.

Genuine sports fans, as Mushnick knows, prefer fearlessly bearded race-baiting know-nothings who evince all the personality of a perforated ulcer to people who actually seem to enjoy their jobs. Good luck to Gus in his future endeavors. Possibly even now, he is laughing this off in a highly stylized fashion.

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