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Mike Breen remembers the way he was taught the game of basketball, and quickly learned that it is best when the five players on the floor work as one.
He took the same approach into his career.
Breen — the longtime voice of the New York Knicks as well as the NBA on ESPN and ABC — was one of the honorees Friday night by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, one of the Curt Gowdy Media Award winners that pay tribute to the game’s best storytellers in various mediums.
“That team aspect has been the story of my life,” Breen said. “From growing up as one of six boys in Yonkers, New York to now, I’ve had the greatest teammates a man could ever hope for — every step of the way.”
Breen is perhaps best known for his signature call — “Bang!” — when someone makes a 3-pointer at a particularly clutch moment. He was the last speaker at Friday night’s Gala and Awards Show, during which this weekend’s enshrinees received their orange Hall of Fame blazers.
The Gowdy Award has four categories; Breen won the electronic media division, Jim Gray the media insight category, Michael Wilbon for print journalism and Turner Sports’ “Inside The NBA” broadcast team of Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal, Ernie Johnson and Kenny Smith won in the transformative media category.
Also honored Friday: Wayne Embry, George Raveling and Bill Russell as recipients of the Mannie Jackson Human Spirit Award, and Dr. Timothy Nugent — who founded the National Wheelchair Basketball Association in 1949 — as the John Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award winner. Nugent died in 2015.
Russell was inducted into the Hall of Fame as a player in 1975, is now a Mannie Jackson winner and is a finalist to be inducted again by the Hall later this year — this time as a coach.
The 2021 class of enshrinees will be announced on Sunday. Among the many finalists: former Miami Heat star Chris Bosh, Villanova coach Jay Wright and longtime NBA coach Rick Adelman.
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