NBA Ted: The Heartbeat of Bucks Basketball


Any experienced basketball fan tends to tense up with a late lead. Will the Bucks make their free throws? Please don’t let the other team hit a three! Thankfully Milwaukee fans have a 100% guaranteed way to know they will win. When Bucks Radio Network announcer Ted Davis (aka NBA Ted) declares the game is “in the bank! And earning interest”, his team has never lost. (He even judiciously avoided the phrase in a Mavs blown seven-point lead with the shot clock dark). But beyond reassuring fans Davis’s staunch enthusiasm and flair make him an asset to Bucks nation, joining an impressive group of Wisconsin radio announcers.

First, it should be noted that basketball is a very difficult game to announce. Baseball (to take nothing away from Bob Uecker of course) is a rhythmic and cyclical game with ample downtime for long asides. In football, the announcers can’t go wrong by simply following the ball. But basketball is extremely fast-paced with many players constantly checking in and out. And runs happen so quickly that the radio voice can’t get carried away with narratives. But Davis rolls difficult names off the tongue cleanly and listeners never miss a shot. Even in broadcasts without an assistant, he ably captures the excitement of the game. (Thankfully his recurring nightmare of forgetting what to do hasn’t come true).

What makes Davis especially enjoyable is his sincere excitability. For Giannis Antetokounmpo (to Davis, “the alphabet”) a layup brings praise of “what big steps you take!” It’s not Ersan Ilyasova, it’s a warbled “IlyaSOOOOOva!” And “Thon Wisconsin” is known to “get all the letters in Spalding”. And Davis, despite his Texas upbringing, lines up for every Wisconsin sports event. The Bucks trust him to update fans with stats to support the team:

He’s also quite knowledgeable on sports talk radio and gets equally jazzy with the Brewers:

And whoever he may be the basketball God must be rather pleased with Davis. Unlike certain network broadcasters forced to feign interest, Davis is just as much of a homer as any Bucks fans. After one poor play last year all he could muster was “uhhhg”. To narrate a recent Middleton winner, Davis devastated fans by declaring the shot as “in and out…” just to update quickly with “and back in again! Bucks win it at the buzzer! How ’bout that?”

With Uecker potentially soon to call the last World Series out, perhaps it’s time for Davis to thrill Milwaukee fans further with a series-clinching call. But however successful the Bucks’ future, they have the sport’s best announcer in the bank and building interest with every win.

About Jeffrey Newholm

"Jammin Jeff" Newholm had been a basketball fanatic since his high school days, and remained a casual fan as a student in Whitewater. Wishing to check in as an active participant, he also completed a writing certificate program at UWM. He loves seeing Bucks games more than any other activity in hometown Milwaukee and especially screaming really really loudly to get someone to miss a free throw. Twitter: @JeffreyNewholm

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