Ken Hoffman: Rockets PA announcer's bit is nothing new
This story originally appeared on CultureMap/Houston.
To everybody who lost their mind over Toyota Center announcer Matt Thomas’ deadpan, couldn’t-be-bothered, practically-under-his-breath introduction of the Golden State Warriors the other night: relax, it was nothing new — he did that to Rockets’ opponents all season.
It's his bit and it's hilarious. In fact, he does it the whole game. When an opposing player scores, Thomas practically whispers his name. Thomas got a lot of attention this time because it was a Game 7, nationally televised, team introductions usually don’t make the telecast, and the NBA teacher’s pet Golden State Warriors were playing. Let’s dig deeper:
Ken Hoffman: Were you surprised by the national media’s reaction to your introduction of the Warriors?
Matt Thomas: Not really. I treat all the opposing teams the same. The only way other cities hear my lineups are when it’s broadcast on a national cable channel like TNT.
KH: When did you start doing dismissive introductions of opposing teams?
MT: When I came back for my second tour of duty as Toyota Center’s arena announcer during the ’16-’17 season. My first run as PA announcer was ’94-’96. I wanted to try something different this time. I’m mostly just trying to convey indifference to the other team.
KH: Do you notice how the other teams react to your introductions?
MT:: I’ve never seen anybody react until I saw Warriors coach Steve Kerr smile when I said his name. He liked it.
KH: Has management ever said it liked your introductions or asked you to knock it off?
MT: No. My job is to fire up the home team and the fans. I think I accomplish that.
KH: Has an opponent said anything to you about your introduction?
MT: Chicago’s Ryan Arcidiacono has thanked me twice for saying his name right.
KH: Do other NBA arena announcers do similarly underwhelming introductions?
MT: Most treat their opponents like they're calling roll in a junior high classroom.
KH: Which teams are the most fun for you to introduce?
MT: Golden State and San Antonio. Their players get the loudest boos
KH: Do you still want to be a game show host? Give me your Top 5 dream shows to host.
MT: Absolutely: The Price is Right, $100,000 Pyramid, Match Game, Card Sharks, and Tattletales. The last one is an old celebrity marriage gossip game.
KH: Do you think the Rockets would have won Game 7 if Chris Paul had played? How about if Cliff Paul had played?
MT: As for Chris Paul, that forever will be a great unknown. As for Cliff Paul, he’s a very underrated 3-point shooter.
KH: What is the capital of Bulgaria?
MT: Bulgaria City.
(Wrong! The capital of Bulgaria is Sofia. And Thomas wants to be a game show host?)