Tim Roye comes to work in a suit and tie when warmups and an oxygen tank would do. He arrives primed to chant like an auctioneer, fueled by adrenaline.
Roye is theGolden State Warriors’ play-by-play voice for flagship station KNBR 680, and every so often, it takes an extra breath to muster the strength to leave the building. You think the Warriors are exciting and fun to watch? Try detailing every rebound, every outlet, every shot, every frantic finish.
“After we do the postgame, sometimes I’m, ‘Oh man, I’ve got no energy left,’” Roye said on the phone after the NBA Finals’ second overtime thriller Sunday night. “After Game 1, I was just wiped out. It really is physically draining, but what a fun job and fun team to watch. Especially when the ball starts moving, guys getting open shots, Steph Curry putting on those moves, and then you lose your mind.”
26 Seasons Tim Roye has been an NBA broadcaster
The series, tied 1-1, moves to Cleveland for the next two games beginning Tuesday night.
Athletes stretch before games. Broadcasters prepare right until tipoff, minds racing before the action does. Curry and Klay Thompson zip around screens for quick pull-up jumpers, or they pull up on the fly, meaning there’s no time for Roye to set up a moment.
“Steph challenges me every night because he does something spectacular, crazy,” Roye said.
In sports, players and fans often must pay their dues. This also rings true for announcers. Roye is in his 26th year of NBA broadcasting, the first six with the Kings and the past 20 with the Warriors. Winning has been mostly foreign. Roye endured 16 consecutive losing seasons, never over-talking then or now.
“I didn’t have a team get to .500 from 1989-90 through the 2005-06 seasons, in Sacramento or Golden State,” Roye said. “My last year in Sacramento, 1995, the Kings had to win the last game in Denver to make the playoffs, and lost. I go to Golden State, and it was a long time before it got good. Pretty crazy but always a great job. My standard joke was, ‘Don’t ask me who might win the title. If you want to know who will win 30 games, I can smell that a mile away.’”
Roye said he and longtime Kings broadcaster Grant Napear fantasize about a Kings-Warriors playoff series someday.
“We want to last long enough to see that happen,” Roye said. “It would be epic. How cool would that be?”
A regular-season highlight for Roye was trying to comprehend Thompson torching the Kings for an NBA-record 37 points in one quarter en route to a 52-point night in a 126-101 rout at Oracle Arena. Said Roye at one point in the game, “He’s not human!” And, “Heat check confirmed!”
“That was amazing,” Roye said. “I never look up points and rebound records because they usually belong to Wilt Chamberlain. Klay broke a Wilt record ... Steph and Klay are great for the league. They play the game the right way. Both have the benefit of having great parents, of being around the league for so long. Steph (on Sunday night after a poor shooting effort) was disappointed, but he knows it’s the NBA. He’s got another game. He’ll be back.”
Like the players he talks about, Roye said he always looks to fine-tune his game. When he listens to a broadcast replay on the way home, Roye has mixed emotions.
“Sometimes I cringe and think, ‘Why did I say that?’” Roye said with a laugh. “I’m constantly thinking, ‘How can I be better?’”
Roye said he received sound advice from his wife, Cinde, years ago.
“Early in my career, when with the Kings, she asked me, ‘Why do you keep saying ‘baseline?’” Roye said. “She was right. I needed to better define what that means.”
The Royes have two kids. Daughter Gabby just finished her junior year at Justin-Siena High School in Napa, and son Zach is preparing for his junior year at Sacramento State, where he is an intern with the football staff.
And Roye this week? He’s in Cleveland, preparing for more vocal chord workouts.
Pros and prospects – The Sacramento Professional Development League, back for another month of basketball action at Capital Christian High School, is a haven for local prep, college and pro athletes showcasing their craft.
Kings guard Ben McLemore scored 41 points in one game, and NBA draft prospect Charles Jackson of Grant went for 23 points and 15 rebounds in another. Former Sacramento State guard Mikh McKinney and area prep stars such as Eric Toles of Cosumnes Oaks and Bee two-time Player of the Year Jordan Ford of Folsom also have participated. Games are Mondays and Wednesdays at 6:30 and 8 p.m.