If you have been watching Brooklyn Nets games on TV over the last 25 years, try imagining any significant Nets moment and not hearing Ian Eagle’s voice in the background announcing. You can’t do it, it’s an impossible task. Not your traditional play-by-play announcer, Eagle has been calling Nets games for the last 26 years and specifically, on the YES network for the last 18 years. His enthusiasm and pure excitement for big moments is rivaled by few in the industry. During the team’s last several years in Jersey, instead of running more promos for players, YES would constantly run a promo featuring one of Ian Eagle’s greatest soundbites as an announcer for the Nets. You can hear it below:
Ian Eagle and Sarah Kustok were honored with the New York Emmy Award for Play-By-Play and Analyst this past weekend, the first duo to ever sweep the awards. For Kustok, who has now worked with Eagle as the primary Nets analyst for the past three years, this was her first individual Emmy. She also becomes the first woman to ever win a Sports Analyst Emmy in New York. The 2019-2020 Brooklyn Nets broadcast team finished with 5 out of the network’s 8 Emmy wins, including producer Frank DiGraci, who won the category of Live Sports Producer. For Eagle, winning the award has almost become an annual tradition, having netted his 5th straight win and 6th in 8 years.
It’s clear Eagle has a special bond with the Nets. Just a few weeks ago, he interviewed Joe Harris on Instagram Live to update fans on how the Nets were handling the quarantine. You can read more about their conversation here. What makes Eagle an all-time great announcer, is his willingness to put himself in the shoes of the fan. Here is a direct quote from Ian regarding how he approaches each broadcast:
“I try and separate myself in a way from the broadcast and visualize myself sitting on a couch. Would this be entertaining for me? And if the answer is no, then you have to shift gears on the broadcast. If we stray too far away, you’ve got to get it back on track. The job is a little bit traffic cop, but it’s also based on common sense, and having good instincts on what works and what doesn’t.”
While the Nets play on the court hasn’t always been elite in recent years, we as Nets fans should be grateful to have had a superstar in the booth like Ian Eagle for as long as we’ve had him. And now with the arrival of Sarah Kustok, I think it’s safe to say we have the privilege of getting to hear two superstars call Nets games on a nightly basis.
SIDENOTE: Eagle was even congratulated by fellow New York play-by-play broadcaster (for the Yankees on the Yes network) Michael Kay earlier this week on The Michael Kay Show, who has also won the award in years past.