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No NBA broadcast team has ever had a run like Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson.

By Jimmy Traina
May 30, 2019

1. Maybe it's just me, but I feel like the run that Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson have had calling the NBA Finals has gone a bit unnoticed.

When the Raptors and Warriors tip off for Game 1 on Thursday night, it will mark the 11th Finals that the trio has called for ABC/ESPN. It will be Van Gundy's 13th Finals as an analyst and Breen's 14th as a play-by-play man. Breen called the 2006 Finals with Hubie Brown and Jackson was missing from the crew in 2012 and 2013 when he was coaching the Warriors.

How impressive has Breen's run been? Take a look at the list of people who have called the NBA Finals since the 1970s:

Breen: 14
Dick Stockton: 9
Marv Albert: 9
Chris Schenkel: 7
Brent Musburger: 6
Bob Costas: 3
Keith Jackson: 2
Al Michaels: 2

When it comes to analysts, you have to go back to the days of Bill Russell and Rick Barry in the late '70s/early '80s to find any who have worked more than four NBA Finals, while Van Gundy is on his 11th.

If you're talking all-time legendary broadcasters, when anyone hears "NFL," they think of Madden and Summerall. If they hear "MLB," they think Vin Scully. When they hear "NHL," they think Doc Emrick. When they hear "NBA," they don't think of Breen. They think of Marv Albert.

Maybe that's one of the reasons the Breen/Van Gundy/Jackson team hasn't gotten the credit it deserves. Everyone, including Breen, says that Marv is the greatest of all time.

However, Breen is one of the best ever and could very well be No. 2 right behind Marv. Obviously, analysts are personal taste. I love Van Gundy and find him extremely entertaining. Mark Jackson is fine and has gotten better over the years.

This issue, though, isn't whether you love the crew or not. It's that they are on one of the great broadcasting runs of all time.

To put it in perspective, they're calling their 11th NBA Finals together beginning Thursday. Madden and Summerall called eight Super Bowls together. Yes, that's a tiny bit of an apples/oranges comparison since the Super Bowl rotates networks, but it doesn't take away from the fact that when early June rolls around, we know we're getting Breen, Van Gundy and Jackson in our living rooms for several nights and there is something refreshing about that familarity.

2. Here are some interesting NBA Finals prop bets offered on I love the value on Klay Thompson winning MVP.

Stephen Curry wins NBA Finals MVP: -140
Field wins NBA Finals MVP: +120

Kawhi Leonard wins NBA Finals MVP: +275
Field wins NBA Finals MVP: -335

Draymond Green wins NBA Finals MVP: +635
Field wins NBA Finals MVP: -970

Klay Thompson wins NBA Finals MVP: +1100
Field wins NBA Finals MVP: -1700

Kevin Durant wins NBA Finals MVP: +1200
Field wins NBA Finals MVP: -1900

Largest point lead by either team at any point during the NBA Final Series:
Over 24 1/2 -175
Under 24 1/2 +145

Stephen Curry series average:
PPG Over 30 1/2: -120
PPG Under 30 1/2: +100

Kawhi Leonard series average
PPG Over 30 1/2: -110
PPG Under 30 1/2: -110

3. The big story regarding the WWE right now is that Jon Moxley, who used to be Dean Ambrose, said that Vince McMahon wanted him to say something terrible about Roman Reigns's cancer during a promo. For some reason, people are outraged by this. I can only assume these people just started watching wrestling becuse this wouldn't even crack the Top 20 list of offensive things Vince and the WWE have done over the years.

4. If you're interested in possibly getting sick, the NBA Finals are for you!


6. Since I opened today's column about Mike Breen, I need to remind you that he was on the SI Media Podcast a couple of weeks ago and you won't find a more humble person in sports media. Listen on iTunes, Spotify or Google Play.

7. RANDOM YOUTUBE VIDEO OF THE DAY: Happy 64th birthday to one of the all-time greatest heels in WWE history, Jake "The Snake" Roberts.

Be sure to catch up on past editions of Traina Thoughts and check out the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast hosted by Jimmy Traina on iTunes, Spotify or Google Play. You can also follow Jimmy on Twitter and Instagram.

IN CLOSING: Warriors in 4.

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