The problem with commentary sometimes is that people just get too attached to certain statements. It all begins with some innocuous statement that commentators and audiences alike find witty, charming and insightful. Wait a few more games and it will get repeated, probably in halftime. Eventually it gets more and more mileage. It might even get more mileage than the ads that sponsor the broadcast — and for free, too! You’re bored with it; you’re tired of it. Still, they just won’t stop saying it. Here are the top ten cliches that come out of an announcer’s mouth in the course of a basketball game. The NBA can be so tiresome sometimes.
10. Defense wins championships.
In the game of basketball, offense and defense are two of the terms thrown around haphazardly that they begin to cease to mean anything. This statement is indicative of just how much sports announcers want to avoid looking like they are just enjoying a good game. Very few cliches are more indicative of the overwhelming need announcers have to always be in serious analyst mode.
When Phoenix goes on a shootout, for instance, and the other team chooses to run their pace (7 seconds to shoot!), everyone’s enjoying the game. It’s fast-paced. It’s exciting. You are on the edge of your seat. It is guaranteed that at least on of the people covering the game will go, "Well, this is truly something, but if Phoenix is to win it all, then they have to remembers that defense wins championships." It is the one of the most infuriatingly pretentious statements in the NBA today because it pretends to be profound. What, do you really think just playing good defense will be enough to win you that trophy? Be serious. You’re going to need to score some points to go with it. ( Learn how to play basketball defense)
9. Take it to the next level. / Variations.
The O Brien trophy
In close games, in grudge matches, in Game 7 of the NBA Finals, you’re going to hear a barrage of sports announcers spewing out these words about the teams in contention. It’s not so much that it doesn’t mean anything. It’s just that it’s clearly a product of the hype machine. This kind of statement brings on added intensity and makes the game more larger-than-life. Yes, the O’Brien trophy is something that requires you to play your best, and then afterwards, top that effort. The reason this particular sports cliche enters this list is because it just means: "They have to play better than the other team." Come on. It doesn’t take a genius to figure that out.
8. 110 %
This is a bit like number nine, only more annoying. No one can give 110% of anything as a human being. You can only give what you have. Players can only give as much as they can give. There is no extra ten percent. It’s just not mathematically possible. What’s more, this is about effort rather than actual production. The worst player in the world can bleed their way through the floor and they still wouldn’t win because they’re just not good enough. Saying that a team has to give 110 % is just wrong, mathematically and logically.
7. They came ready to play.
practicing his shoot
Oh my God. Don’t you just cringe when sports announcers say this? What, do some players go to stadiums without their uniforms and with no intention to suit up? Do some players randomly decide to leave their sneakers at home on game day? Come on! At the rate players are paid, they had better be coming in ready to play!
6. It’s gonna come down to who wants it more.
No. Just… no. No two teams are completely equal on a given night. It could happen, but it very rarely does. Even in close games, there will be one thing that edges the other out. There will be differences in ability per night. That’s just how it goes. To say that wanting something more equates to winning? That’s ridiculous. The Cleveland Cavaliers could have wanted that championship more than the Spurs did in 2007, but they did not beat the Spurs. It did not come down to wanting — it came down to which one was the better team, simple as that. When the Detroit Pistons won in 2004, they didn’t win because they wanted the championship more than the Lakers did. They won because they played better. To say that some players or teams aren’t looking to win games as much as everyone else is just plain unfair to the desire all NBA players have.
5. They know what it takes to win.
Why does this even get said? Even the most athletically-challenged
know what it takes to win. You score more than the other team by shooting well and not letting them shoot. Who doesn’t know this? Who plays for the NBA and doesn’t know how basketball works? It’s just absurd. Knowing that when you play better than the other team you win is not some magical secret you need a password to. Everyone knows what it takes to win. Even a hermit living in a cave knows what it takes to win. Stop saying it like it means something!
4. Any team is capable of beating another team.
You know, if this wasn’t true, then no games would be played anymore — ever. Although it’s highly unlikely that the Knicks will beat the Lakers in a finals series, it’s not impossible for them to win a random regular season game. It happens. So at least the statement is true. What, then, is the problem?
This statement always gets used in cases of a mismatch. One team is clearly better than the other and the announcers are trying to muster some enthusiasm for the (likely) massacre that’s about to follow. It’s just that this is a statement that tries to get the audience all fired up for the game when obviously, no one cares. No one cares how the 2007-2008 Season bottom-dwelling Miami Heat will perform against the San Antonio Spurs in a regular season game because they’re not going to be facing each other in the NBA Finals. But just watch and listen, if a game like this ever gets televised, you’re going to hear that commentator say this exact same sentence verbatim.
3. It took five players to win the game.
It’s just plain weird when announcers say this.
Making another point
It’s almost like they can imagine Kobe Bryant winning all by himself. Yes, players like Michael Jordan are transcendental but they cannot win alone. It doesn’t matter just how good you are. In a 5-on-1 scenario, you will lose. OK, so Lebron James might have single-handedly won Game 5 for the Cavaliers during their Eastern Conference Finals series against the Pistons, but it doesn’t mean that the team around him didn’t matter. The sublime play of one player is admirable but it always takes a team. If it was Lebron James inbounding, taking the ball to their halfcourt, dribbling, rebounding and guarding every single man on the other team, he wouldn’t win. A literal 5-on-1 is just impossible to win. So stop saying there needed to be five players on the court to win. Of course. The game wouldn’t even start if there was only one player on one team versus five on the other.
2. This is a hard loss to swallow.
Another one for stating the obvious. As any NBA player would tell you, any loss
Loosing his hope to win the game
is hard to swallow. Do sports announcers think that some players can actually enjoy losing? Are they kidding here? Saying that one loss is hard to swallow indicates that other losses aren’t. Hell would freeze over before any player tells you that losing to their rival was not a hard loss. Pigs would fly before any player tells you that losing to a bottom-feeder is an enjoyable experience. The government would stop collecting taxes before anyone in the NBA starts feeling that losing is OK. An injured all-star, being undermanned, sick with the flu, going through a rape trial, two suspended starters, back-to-back road games — it doesn’t matter. No matter the circumstances, losing will always be something that NBA players will find hard to swallow. Why do sports announcers think that it still needs to be said?! (If losers feel depressed of what just happened, you must read how to battle depression and win)
1. The better team won today.
Oh, really? Because the viewing
The coach instructing the play
audience was under the impression that the winners in basketball games are actually those who played badly. Come on. This is at the top of this list because it really is nothing more than just stating the bloody obvious, and sports announcers who say this are just looking for ways to avoid dead air.
Why are sports announcers so prone to saying the obvious, then? Why do they insist on stringing along words that do not really hold any significance? Why do they insist on saying the same thing over and over and over again?
Because it’s what they’re paid to do. They’re part of the hype machine, and the NBA is still a product. They have to sell it. That’s why cliches abound. Just remember, that amazing piece of wisdom you heard today will eventually turn into a cliche is you keep overusing it. That’s probably why you refrain from repeating it. Hopefully, sports announcers begin to realize that, too. It’s not like they can’t come up with new ways to describe the goings-on in a basketball court. It’s not like they can’t come up with novel ways to analyze. It’s just that when they do, the novelty eventually wears off and the transformation into a veritable cliche begins. Other commentators will find the statement so fun to say as well. You just can’t win this one.
If Announcers uses cliches to avoid dead air, the Athletes uses quotes during the interview to catch media’s attention. And here are the Top Ten Sports Quotes of All Time.