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“And now, Grant Napear.”

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The Sacramento Kings have thrived in close games, being 5 – 1 in games decided by less than five points. In contrast, the Memphis Grizzlies don’t do well when the score is tight, and have lost all six games decided by five or fewer points.

Unfortunately for the Kings, Monday night’s game did not fall into the category of “close.” The Grizzlies won by 32 points (113 – 81).

"And now, Grant Napear."

First, you hear the crowd begin to buzz. An announcer’s voice interrupts the noise by saying “Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.” It sounds like he’s talking on one of the huge microphones you see in movies from the 1940’s.

The announcer continues, “Welcome to the Grant Napear Show.” You can almost see an arena filled with cigar smoke. The men are wearing fedoras.

But, instead of introducing Joe Louis, the announcer says, “And now, Grant Napear.”

So begins another episode of the weekday sports call-in show on KTHK – AM, from 3 pm to 7 pm (except when there are Kings games).

The highly stylized introduction was Grant’s idea. He wanted to capture the essence of Bob Sheppard, the public address announcer for the New York Yankees from 1951 – 2007. As fans of his radio show often hear, Grant grew up an avid Yankee fan.

To recreate the Bob Sheppard persona, Grant tapped a fellow broadcaster who dabbles in imitations. Jon Miller, play-by-play announcer for the San Francisco Giants, counts Sheppard among the voices in his repertoire.

Prior to the Grizzlies game, Kings fans at Sleep Train Arena expressed their feelings about Grant and the introduction he designed.

David (Fairfield), who likes Grant’s show, gets transported back to “the late 30’s” by the introduction. “It brings back that old throwback. It’s like a retro feeling, that the game isn’t about just the modern day game but it’s got a historical perspective to it.” David’s retro-styled cap, he pointed out, is his own salute to that theme.

Joe (Sacramento) likes the old-time feeling because “it keeps a traditional feel with it," and calls the show “great.”

“It’s different,” Kevin commented, as he slipped into a passable rendition of the opening. He added, “It took me aback — but not way, way back. It was pretty cool.” And, the show? “Grant is the bomb! Grant could be in a big-market town, because he’s just that good!”

Gary (Sacramento) simply advised “I like it! Stay with it!”

Damone (from Stockton) observed, “It puts you in the mood to hear the rest of the [show]. It kind of reminds me of the history that we have with the Sacramento Kings, which is good. I like it, from what I’ve heard.”

Alcido drove up from Denair and was complimentary, saying “I think it’s pretty good, pretty neat.”

Ron (Fair Oaks) conceded, “It’s okay.” He likes the show, but cautioned that he has increasingly listened to 1320 because it devotes more time to football, and “the Kings haven’t exactly given us a whole lot to live for lately.”

While seven fans are not a statistically significant sample size, it is nice to see that not one fan disliked Grant’s homage to a rich, but bygone, sports era.



Photographer: Thanks to Darren Hall for the game photos.

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