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Thorn: He saw himself as a player. And he used to play, like after practice, before practice. He and the trainer and Gregg Polinsky, myself, we’d play. And Bob never passed. Ever. And he had on, you know like, wristbands up to his … [laughing]you know, the way guys wear them today. He had that back in those days. Headband. Oh, and long pants. He thought he was a tremendous player.
Woj: But also he would do play-by-play. He would announce …
Thorn: Oh yeah. He’d take a shot, [hilarious Costas voice] “And 20-footer by Costas … good!” Shut up, you’re losing every game. [laughing] Shut up. Yeah, he would do that.
In all my years (7 days) of being a Bob Costas guy I’ve never had a prouder moment. This is everything… EVERYTHING I’ve ever wanted from a Costas story. It’s just so fucking perfect. The pants, the sweatbands, the utter refusal to pass the ball. And of course the commentary – so perfect. That’s the sign of a true pro right there. Never not “on”. Always in announcer mode.
I mean, what a fucking visual, huh? All five foot nothing of Costas, covered head to toe in sweatbands, launching up one handed jumpers to the tune of his own voice.
“Costas dribbles right! And the ball goes off his foot!”
“Costas for three! And it hits the top of the backboard!”
“Costas coming off the pick! And he throws it over his teammates head out of bounds!”
And you know he blamed his teammates every time something went wrong. EVERY time. Scolding them for rolling when they should’ve popped. Making a sarcastic face every time someone else shot when he was open. Letting his defender beat him then getting mad when nobody slides over to help. I can just perfectly visualize every single thing about Costas’s pickup game. I know every move he’d make, everything about his jumpshot form, exactly how he dribbles. All of it.
The best part about it is… as much as people probably HATED to play with him as a basketball player. I have no doubt in my mind they loved that play by play. I mean, the guy is a broadcasting prodigy. This isn’t your asshole friend making a joke out of it – Costas was serious. Giving backstories during breaks in play, throwing it to his announcing partners to give them some shine, making snarky comments during blowouts. When you play with Bob Costas you feel like you’re watching the game on the couch AND playing at the same time. Only a few guys can give you that kind of experience – and Costas is one.