‘I’ve got the best seat in the house’: Jim Nantz reflects on 23 years as lead anchor on March Madness as he prepares for CBS college basketball final call tonight
Jim Nantz’s career as a college basketball commentator will come to an end as the scraps fall to either San Diego State or Yukon in the NCAA Tournament tonight.
The sports media legend will continue to call golf and soccer for the network, including this month’s Masters tournament.
I’ve had the best seat in the house at the Super Bowl, the Masters, or here in my entire career. “I never really got over the fact that I was the person who was blessed with the opportunity to have a voice and tell the story,” Nantz told the AP.
But when asked about his favorite moments as he prepared for the 354th and final game of that trip — Monday’s title game — he brought up Delaware.
The Hornets were the No. 16 seed when they played what was still their only NCAA appearance back in 2005. They were facing Duke in a first-round game that hardly anyone remembers now. Nantz was sure he would see these Duke players again.
Legendary sportscaster Jim Nantes will call the final game of college basketball tonight
Nantz received a video tribute and standing ovation prior to SDSU’s victory over Florida Atlantic
Nantz said during a courtside chat interview with The Associated Press the day before he started his last four games.
This tournament is “forever”. I always wanted to make sure I did justice to their story.
Nantz may be the voice American sports fans know best. He’s guided them through six Super Bowls on CBS and walked them among the towering pines at the Masters since 1986, when Jack Nicklaus won his sixth green jacket. He’ll continue on those missions for the foreseeable future, but this thirty-seventh run through March Madness will be his last.
It would have been perfect, some said, if his alma mater, who entered the tournament as the top seed, was playing in its hometown for the final game of Nantes’ basketball trip. It didn’t, but Nantz thinks there’s something apt about a Final Four emerging out of the blue like this, with three schools that’ve never looked this good before, and no team ranked better than fourth seed UConn.
I’ve always loved tales of the underdog. Nantes called it “a storytelling paradise”.
Nantz got a key to the city of Houston on Friday — two streets at an intersection outside the stadium have been renamed “Jim Nantz Way” and “Hello Friends Boulevard.”
“Hello Friends” is a welcome catchphrase he coined about 20 years ago — while that might be a scheme, other things aren’t.
His appeal to SDSU’s Lamont Butler Saturday in the semifinals — Nantz estimates he’s had 20 last-second winners over his years at the tournament — plays like a master class in what his job should be: simple, urgent, more in the moment. much more than the person talking about.
“It’s Butler. With two seconds. He should put it up. Aaand. Win it! Win it! With the bird!” Then, five seconds of silence, followed by “San Diego State Miracle!”
Nantz—a national sports treasure—would continue to call football and golf for CBS