YouTube streams for Prior Lake (Minn.) High School boy’s basketball games average between 200 and 600 views. But one clip from a broadcast this season has racked up more than 2 million views on Twitter.
In the clip, play-by-play announcer Lee Bernick begins to lament the death of his family’s 12-year-old dog Lucy, who was run over by a car in his driveway. Bernick is then interrupted as a Prior Lake player intercepts a pass and throws down a dunk on the other end. “Oh! Was she run over like that?” his broadcast partner George Nusbaum interjects after the Lakers player slams the ball through the hoop.
The clip was posted to Twitter late Wednesday night by user @Ross_homan1 and quickly went viral after it was reposted by Barstool Sports. Social media users couldn’t believe the yet-unidentified color commentator would go there, especially since it wasn’t clear from the 14-second clip whether Lucy was an animal or a child.
The clip also leaves so much to be desired. How did the topic of poor Lucy come up? What was Nusbaum thinking when he made such an off-color joke? How did Bernick react to Nusbaum’s zinger? And how the hell do you keep a broadcast rolling after a comment like that?
That’s why I decided to call Nusbaum and get the whole story.
Though the clip is currently lighting up Twitter, it actually comes from Prior Lake’s Nov. 30 game against East Ridge. It was the first game of the season but Nusbaum and Bernick have been streaming Lakers games for a few years now. It’s just something fun to do now that their kids are out of the house, and they try not to take themselves too seriously.
“We’ve been doing that stream for three or four years,” Nusbaum told SI.com. “I just think you got to keep it light. It’s high school athletics. It’s not D-I or beyond.”
Nusbaum has a flair for performance (“I sing in a local rock band, too,” he says) and the quip about Lucy was just keeping in line with the free-wheeling broadcast. Bernick, Nusbaum says, wasn’t just OK with the comment—he loved it.
“He’s just the devil himself. He was laughing,” Nusbaum said of Bernick. “We’re always trying to set each other up for something like that so he’s fist bumping me. He’s the guy who brought it up, not me. We’re of course animal lovers. You’re there to entertain, right?”
The full video of the broadcast (beginning at the 32:10 mark here) paints a slightly different picture. Bernick may not be a professional broadcaster but he does manage to finish his call of the dunk and transition into a timeout. Then Bernick delivers a deadpan quip nearly as hilarious as Nusbaum’s.
“Oh, do you wanna know what happened? Sabrina ran her over.”
Nusbaum and Bernick are loving every minute of their viral fame and preparing to broadcast another game on Friday. They have their eyes set on landing a spot calling college games in the future. In the meantime, all their games are streamed on the school district’s YouTube page.