I posted the criteria I think should be used to judge whether an announcer is good or whether they are Jon Barry, and I’ll be using those criteria to evaluate Jon Barry during his telecasts. The first one I am going to break down is the exciting Pelicans/Suns matchup from Friday night, which Jon Barry, unsurprisingly, managed to make much less fun than it should have been. Let’s get to it.
One of the criteria is Sense of Humor. Here we have a clip of Jon Barry stealing someones joke. He does at least give credit to Steve Albert for coming up with the joke, but still. It’s pretty clear that Carlos Mencia is Jon Barry’s favorite comedian. Long story short: Jon Barry, sense of humor, bottom of the barrel.
I love this next clip so much. First Jon Barry mispronounces Goran Dragic’s name (he calls him Drah Jick), as he does all the time. Then Dave Pasch says it the right way (Drah Gitch). Jon Barry doesn’t miss a beat, coming right back with the mispronunciation. Ahaha. Epic. Also, it’s not as though JB mispronounces Dragic’s name once in a while, it’s every damn time. This is just a little taste. (Note: After listening to the rest of this game in it’s entirety, Jon Barry begins pronouncing his name correctly. So someone prob got in his ear and fixed the issue. This clip remains awesome).
More love here for this next clip. The beginning of the video is choppy (apologies, the Fire Jon Barry video production budget is lower than Jon Barry’s Q Score) but Babbitt just all of a sudden goes crazy and fouls Dragic, he must have thought the Pelicans had a foul to give, but they didn’t, and then Jon Barry points out how it was good recognition by Dragic. That’s your Whiskey Tango Foxtrot Jon Barry moment of the night folks. Good recognition by Dragic to be the recipient of a dumb foul which occurred because a player didn’t know how many team fouls he had. Ok, then.
In this sequence, Marcus Morris hits a three. Jon Barry does his fake excitement thing, which is annoying to begin with, about how hot he has been. Unfortunately, it wasn’t Marcus who was hot, it was Markieff. I could understand a regular dude off the street screwing those names up, I mean, c’mon, they are twins. But shouldn’t Jon Barry prepare for that by boning up on Markieff/Marcus numbers, trying to do whatever he can to get them right? Also, I love the way he asks Pasch to confirm who it is.
Ok, here we have a sequence in which Tyreke Evans scores twice in a row by dribble penetration. Jon Barry comments how he is basically unstoppable on the dribble drive, and that if he “adds a jumpshot” it’s like he’d be impossible to cover. First of all, Tyreke Evans has been supposed to add a jumpshot to his arsenal for his entire career. He is a little better shooter now, but he is still not great. Second, this Bleacher Report article does a great job breaking down the traditional narrative about Tyreke (BR debunks the myth that he needs the ball in his hands to succeed, and that he is somehow elite at this). The numbers, as you may imagine, don’t bear out the narrative that Jon Barry is preaching here. Small thing, but this BR Report article is the type of insight I would like to see out of an announcer right now. Using data to support hypotheses. I don’t think that’s too much to ask. Lastly, Tyreke’s game is still limited by his basketball IQ, even if he adds a jumper.
This last clip embodies everything I dislike about Jon Barry. First, we have a douchey laugh after an awesome play by Dragic, who banks home a prayer three. Or two douchey laughs, actually. It isn’t a laugh like “whoa that was an amazing and fun sight to behold” it’s a laugh like “Goran Dragic is so lucky that went in.” Then he starts being a jerk to Dave Pasch when Pasch says Dragic reacted like MJ, which was a totally valid and accurate point, as Dragic turned to the broadcast booth with the shrug, exactly like MJ. It seemed like Jon Barry really didn’t know what Pasch was talking about “Let’s not call him Michael Jordan for one banked three” which forces Pasch to explain himself, which is awkward, and then Jon Barry talks over him to let him know he indeed knew what he was talking about. Super awkward. And then we get the “fake enthusiasm” raised voice inflection to take us into the break.