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Retired Suns voice Steve Albert reflects on time in Phoenix

And on sad Brad Stevens after Devin Booker’s 70.

AFL NAB Cup Rd 3 - Western Bulldogs v Fremantle Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images

Play-by-play announcer Steve Albert announced his retirement last April. His 45-year career concluded with five seasons as the television voice of the Suns. Kudos to Steve for lasting in Phoenix as long as he did.

This week Albert sat down with to talk about his impressive career including Devin Booker’s 70-point night, why he doesn’t have a catchphrase, and how he endured all that losing.

On Book’s 70:

“People don’t talk about this. That night, if you went into the locker room corridor at TD Garden after the game, you wouldn’t know who won and who lost. In the Suns locker room, they were jubilantly celebrating, pouring water over Devin’s head, posting pictures of Devin holding an homage to Wilt’s 100-point game with a hand-written 70-point sign. It was like they won the NBA championship, the noise coming from that locker room was that loud.

Then you walk into the Celtics locker room – and they won the game! – and it was very somber and sullen. They’re all sitting in front of their lockers with their heads down because they gave up a huge lead. Brad Stevens was not happy. They almost blew the game. And they’re hearing the Suns celebrate on the other side of the corridor. It was surreal. It was a real study in psychology.”

On covering a struggling squad:

“You always get that rush when you’re doing a game, but certainly it helps when you have a major event like that or you’re with a team that’s consistently winning. That always makes your job interesting. Anybody can announce for a good team, but you really have to dig down deep to call games for a team that struggles. It makes you work harder and prepare better. That’s why it’s great to have a really good color commentator like Eddie Johnson, someone you can banter with and talk about other things.”

On why he doesn’t have a catchphrase:

“I was surrounded by people with catchphrases all my life. My brother’s got maybe the most iconic catchphrase in basketball with one simple three-letter word. He started saying that when he was doing the Knicks on radio. With [Suns radio play-by-play announcer] Al [McCoy], it was “Shazam!” for a 3-pointer and all the catchphrases he had. People grew up with it.

Personally, I just never became one of those catchphrase guys. I guess early on in my career, I experimented with a couple things, but I guess all the catchphrases were taken! I just relied on my exhilaration, excitement, hoping for a big shot down the stretch at the end.”

There’s a lot more good stuff from Matt Petersen here. Give it a read.

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