AwfulAnnouncing- Here’s how Musburger told it to Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune:
One time. A long time ago I was doing an NBA game. It was in Portland in the ’80s. Lakers-Trail Blazers and the director was legendary Tony Verna, who started instant replay in the (1963) Army-Navy game. I took the Lakers (plus) three points. The bet was dinner for the production team, which I suppose would have been 300 bucks. The Blazers were up by 4, well inside of one minute. Shot clock. The Lakers came across (half court) and a kid by the name of Kurt Rambis jacked up this outrageous shot, and I was all over him! So I paid off the bet, bought the dinner and said to myself: ‘You know, that was not good. That was just not good. You do not want the spread to influence how you are announcing a game.’ I always knew what the number was on every game I did. I told (former ABC executive) Dennis Swanson: I’m not going to bet on games I broadcast. I’ll bet on other games.
After learning that lesson, let me apologize to Rambis. I should not have done that. ‘He could have pounded it inside and I could have had a backdoor cover!’ (laughs)
Wait, once? The guy that spent damn near all of his 40+ years in sportscasting making increasingly less subtle references to the spread before immediately bolting to a career in gambling only bet on a game he worked one single time?! Something tells me that number might go up as the amount of time he spends in the spotlight - and coincidentally the number of fucks given - goes down, but for now let's take him at his word.
If Brent Musburger only put his money where his mouth was contractually obligated to be one time before he felt like it was effecting his ability to do his job then we need that audio, and we needed it yesterday. A professional broadcaster and - by all accounts - a professional gambler was so thrown off by mixing business and pleasure that he vowed to never do so again? A guy whose profession encourages him to be as suspenseful as possible felt that his stakes in the game were making him too emotionally attached?
In retrospect, that last minute of gameplay is probably must-see TV. Watching him live and die with the last few possessions of a random Lakers-Trail Blazers matchup knowing that it was totally genuine and not at all for dramatic effect? That would be far more gratifying than thinking he was just upholding his obligation to the viewers. I guarantee this over-the-top rant at the expense of Kurt Rambis, his shot selection, and potentially the content of his character would have me stitches if I knew what triggered it. Watching people you share a (in this case fictitious) kinship with lose money over something they can't control is endlessly intriguing. Almost makes me think more commentators should go down that road if the goal is truly to entertain the audience.