Broadcast trio glad they have Kings to cover
10/27/2013 12:00 AM
10/08/2014 10:56 AM
They are rarely short of words, the Kings' broadcasting trio with the gift of gab.
But the thought of not announcing on opening night for the 2013-14 season nearly left Gary Gerould, Grant Napear and Jerry Reynolds speechless.
They went through the same emotional roller coaster as thousands of Kings fans at the prospect of the team moving to Seattle.
They were approached at grocery stores, the airport and other public places.
Are they going? Staying? What will we do without the Kings?
After all the turmoil, the Kings are still here – and so are the broadcasters who offer insight about the only major sports franchise the city has known.
Gerould, entering his 29th season on radio, and Napear, preparing for his 26th season on TV, are the longest-tenured radio/TV tandem in the NBA. Reynolds is in his 16th season doing color for the TV broadcast.
Napear received texts from anxious fans from around the world – including Australia, Britain and China – desperate for answers.
"Had the Kings left, it would have been unfathomable," Napear said. "It would have been like losing a big part of your life – forever. Unlike Gary and Jerry, who love this franchise as much as I do, I would have had to go on my radio show every day (on flagship station KHTK) and walk people off the ledge of buildings, even though I was on the ledge, too, to rally the community as they rally me, and that we'll all get through this. But we're here now."
Gerould has been the radio voice of the Kings since the franchise moved from Kansas City in 1985. Only Al McCoy (Suns, 41 years), George Blaha (Pistons, 37) and Ralph Lawler (Clippers, 35) have been with their teams longer.
"It's very exciting to have this season, because you feel like for the first time in too many years there's a legitimate foundation here – from a fan standpoint, a marketing standpoint, a basketball standpoint," Gerould said. "It's hard to put into words. I still have a hard time convincing myself that this is all behind us and we don't have to deal with the drama, the roller coaster, anymore.
"Everything is so new and fresh, top to bottom. It's unlike anything we've encountered here, except when the team first got here."
Reynolds has worn many hats with the Kings – assistant coach, head coach, front-office executive – since their arrival in Sacramento. He retired as the Kings' director of player personnel after last season, understanding that the new ownership would prompt sweeping change. Still, he's the longest-tenured Kings employee, an honor he embraces.
"I feel great about all of this," Reynolds said. "I have a lot of energy, and certainly the enthusiasm. Talking about the Kings, I'd do that anyway in the supermarket or at a Rotary Club. That's what I do.
"It's very natural for me now on TV, but it wasn't always. A producer talking in my ear during a game, where to look, when to talk. And I'm easily confused."
The broadcasters are as different as they are entertaining. Gerould is smooth in delivery yet animated and opinionated on plays and officiating. Napear is high energy with well-known catch phrases – "Put it in the book and send him to the line!" and, "If you don't like that, you don't like NBA basketball!" Reynolds is folksy and a basketball lifer who will banter with Napear about not throwing out 40-year-old ties because "at my age, you stop throwing stuff out."
Napear views Reynolds and Gerould as "family."
"We do mix and blend well, but there's a huge difference in styles, and that's a good thing," Gerould said. "Jerry has that 'Aw-shucks' appeal, but he has such great insight and he networks around the league. He knows basketball top to bottom. It's good to have variety. Yes, Grant can be bombastic with his New York style, but he's entertaining. He really has a legitimate passion for the organization."
All three try to stay fit, because they know the season is a long grind. Reynolds walks several miles every week, and Napear and Gerould are gym regulars.
"I want to be mentally and physically top shelf because I'm so excited for the season," Napear said. "Can't wait. It's amazing what's happened here. People came together to make it work, to keep this team. There's nothing that galvanizes a city or a region more than a sports team. Opera doesn't do that. The museum doesn't do that."
Follow Joe Davidson on Twitter @SacBee_JoeD and listen to his "Extra Point" every Wednesday on ESPN Radio 1320.
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