It’s hard to believe that Jim Barnett has been the Warriors’ television analyst for almost three decades. His run comes to an end after this season, as reported by Bruce Jenkins:
Barnett’s contract will expire in the spring, and as he met with team president Rick Welts and marketing executives to discuss the future, there was “mutual agreement,” said Barnett, that he join Bob Fitzgerald on the Comcast telecasts for one more season and then move into an ambassador’s role with the club, entailing speaking engagements, community functions “and whatever else they’d like me to do.”
As a cynic and a skeptic, the term “mutual agreement” makes me wonder which party was more mutual in this agreement. But since I’m not a psychic, so there’s no reason to speculate on that. Not when the better response would be to appreciate Barnett the man and announcer.
Basketball is a different animal in a broadcast sense. When an analyst is on his game, you hope — no, expect — the team you’re rooting for to enact his/her suggestions in real time.
“Can’t Klay hear Jim? Take it to the rack, get to the line and your shooting slump will end!”
Barnett isn’t quite with the modern NBA game in terms of shooting as many threes as humanly possible (it’s a pretty sweet loophole for a team like the Warriors), but in every other area I’m usually right there with him. He’s a young 69, and I’m looking forward to hearing him call the action for a Warriors team that’s expected to win 50 games for the first time … ever?
But this site trades on media silliness (because the sports seriousness only gets ya so far), and as such we need to figure out who’s going to take over for Mr. Barnett. Clearly, all Magic Eight Balls point to Tom Tolbert, who’ll join Tim Roye for every game this season on the radio side.
On my two-hour drive back to San Francisco from Santa Clara on Thursday afternoon (it was 2.5 hours actually, including an In-N-Out dinner stop since my wife is out of town on business), I heard Tom Tolbert take a call on KNBR. I know, weird. But Ratto and Byrnes weren’t around, so maybe Tolbert was feeling a little lonely.
The caller asked whether Tolbert would take over for Barnett next season, and Mr. T sounded flattered. He also said he was surprised with how much fun he had calling games on the radio with Tim Roye after all the TV stuff he’s done (Tolbert was once a main dude for ESPN/ABC). He mentioned about how on radio he can get away with wearing “jeans and a collared shirt” instead of a tie, and how the need to be a little sharper on the radio was something he enjoyed.
He also said no one from the Warriors has approached him about replacing Barnett, and joked that their preferred choice was probably Sarunas Marciulionis.
If Tolbert (perhaps the most popular media personality in the greater Bay Area) isn’t the Warriors’ guy, then who are they targeting? There are only two other candidates I can come up with (I’m sure the commentariat will add a name or two).
- Chris Mullin, who after leaving his post as Warriors GM has worked for (who else) ESPN.
- Chris Webber, who’d remind everyone of the Warriors’ worst team dismantling … and that’s saying something.
- (Update) I’m getting a lot of responses from people on Twitter suggesting Brent Barry. It’s a hire that would make sense even though he didn’t play for the team. Plus, he was interviewing people at Warriors Media Day.
Joe Lacob will want someone big (literally and figuratively) to sit in with Fitz, and they’ll pay for a guy who’ll make the home fans happy and stick around until the time when they finally move into that arena on Piers 30/32. More on that later. My guess is Tolbert slides into Barnett’s chair during the 2014/15 season, but I’ve been wrong many times before. Being a cynic/skeptic/psychic isn’t as easy as it sounds.