Anyone watching the NBA long enough has heard the word “Bang!” during the broadcast. The man responsible for one of the most iconic calls on basketball, Mike Breen, shares the story of his famous catchphrase.
It started on the radio but caught on TV
"Bang!" had existed for many years before becoming famous on TV; Mike Breen shared that he used it first on radio via The Rex Chapman Show, as reported by Josh Hopkins from Basketball News.
“I don’t remember the year. I wish I could remember the year it started to catch on but I do remember when I started using it. I used it on radio a little bit and I didn’t like it because I felt that for some reason it didn’t work on radio. Then I started doing it on TV. I was doing some high school games for Sports Channel America. I used it when someone makes a big shot because that’s when I started yelling at as a Fordham student. If a Fordham player hit a big shot and again there was no 3-point line, that’s what I would yell out in the stands.”
Mike Breen, ">The Rex Chapman Show
Breen shouting "Bang!" at the time where there’s no 3-point line yet makes it even more iconic. Mike, who had been active in the industry since the 80s, deserves to be called the voice of the NBA. He was always there during the big moments, and there was always that"Bang!" to give the highlight another flavor.
The Good, the bad, and the Bang
Having a famous catchphrase helped elevate Breen’s career. An article published on Sports Chew’s website ranks Breen as one of the highest-paid sports commentators today with an estimated salary of $500,000. Only Marv Albert and Ernie Johnson earn more among NBA commentators.
The bang catchphrase brought not only a handsome paycheck but also awards. In 2021, Breen was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame because of his work, dedication, and impact on the game. And what better way to congratulate him than Fordham greats giving respect and salute.
However, some initially hated him for it. Some writer remarked that it was such a lame call. Fortunately for Breen and for millions of basketball fans, the iconic "Bang!" call remained and will forever be part of the culture and history of the sports.