Thursday, April 30, 2009

Washington D.C.'s Best Sports Personalities

George Michael: Before Sportscenter became a household word, and we all tuned it at 11 PM to catch the daily highlights there was The George Michael Sports Machine. The show first aired locally here in Washington D.C. in 1980 and then went national in 1984. George Michael was also the voice for the NBC affiliate in Washington D.C. he had the ear of Washington Redskins coach Joe Gibbs and he always got the inside scoop at Redskins park.

Andy Pollin: Andy Pollin began his career out west in Texas, before moving to New York City where he was one of the original broadcasters at WFAN. In the early 1990’s Pollin returned to his home town in Maryland and helped establish what now ESPN980 is; the first 24/hour sports station in Washington D.C. In many ways Pollin has been a staple of the Washington sports scene. His recently published book with fellow Washingtonian Leonard Shapiro showed Pollin’s knowledge and understanding of D.C. sports history. For any D.C. sports fan there is no better way to spend the evening drive home than listening to Andy Pollin on his daily radio broadcast The Sports Reporters.

John Thompson: Better known as coach, Big John has made the transition from stalking the sidelines at Georgetown to sitting in a chair behind the microphone, and radio listeners in Washington D.C. cannot be happier. John Thompson brings the same straight shooting style that made him a standout coach to his interviews and athletes and writers alike can all appreciate his talents. Big John has not been afraid to remind listeners to what it was like back in the when he was growing up in the area as well as when he first came to Georgetown. Without a doubt his biggest accomplishment in the booth has been keeping it real.

Richard ‘Doc’ Walker: Doc Walker first burst onto the Washington D.C. sports scene after being traded to the Washington Redskins. He would go on to be a founding member of the Redskins Fun Bunch. After stepping off the gridiron Doc picked up a microphone and become of the best game broadcasters in the area. His weekly work covering college football has made him a staple in any ACC fans weekly diet. In addition to being a color commentator Doc Walker also host his own radio shows as well as working as a sideline reporter for the Redskins. While all of those accomplishments are good, Docs biggest addition to the D.C. sports scene has been the nicknames. Mongoose Marcus Washington, Sean the Tarantula Taylor, Mike Caveman Sellers. All of these have become staples in the Metropolitan region.

Brian Mitchell: B Mitch, has been described as a hard ass, and that description would be 100% accurate. After retiring, Brian Mitchell came to the airwaves in 2006 and D.C. radio has not been the same since. Brian Mitchell was known for bringing intensity and trash talking to the field as a player and he has brought the exact same mindset to the radio booth. B’Mitch has been known to threaten local athletes and challenge them both on the field and sometimes in the back alley. However, despite the hard exterior, this writer can personally attest to the good side of Brian Mitchell, who took time out of his busy schedule to help a struggling rugby player practice his kick and punt returns.

Al Koken: Despite growing up in St. Louis Missouri, Al Koken has become a popular figure in Washington Sports. In the last two decades Koken has worked doing game commentary for the Orioles, Wizards, the CAA conference and most notably the Washington Capitals. In addition to his in game work, you can also catch Al Koken as a co-host on the John Thompson show.

Steve Buckhantz: Buck as they like to call him has been a staple in the Washington D.C. sports scene for nearly 25 years. He made his mark during a 14 year stint as the sports director and lead sports anchor for Fox 5 news. Buckhantz now spends his days doing play-by-play for the Washington Wizards. Without a doubt Buckhantz’s biggest contribution to sports have been the catch phrase “dagger” that can be heard on any Wizards highlight clip. Note: also be aware of premature “dagerlation” at the end of a game.

Mike Wilbon: Mike Wilbon has been with the Washington Post since 1980, and no one can deny the impact he has had both locally and nationally. The majority of people know Wilbon for his role on PTI, ESPN’s highest rated show. In reality PTI is the product of a near 30 year friendship between Wilbon and TK. In addition to being a feature columnist, radio guest, Wilbon has become one of ESPN’s top basketball analysts. Many a writer including Mike Wise has attributed Mike Wilbon’s work ethic and mentoring to their success.

Mike Wise: Michael Wise is the newest guy on this list, having only resided in Washington D.C. since 2004. This is after his time working in New York City. However, despite only being in D.C. for a little under five years, Mike Wise has made his impact known. He has become one of the elite columnists for the Washington Post, with Mike Wilbon focusing more of his attention toward his ESPN commitments. There is no one who has his thumb on the pulse of Wizards basketball like Mike Wise. Bringing plenty of is California laid by cool to the busy district Wise provides a unique voice that is very refreshing for the region. Also Michael Wise is an avid animal lover, having saved his dog from a freezing river last winter. How can you not like this guy?

Sally Jenkins: She may be the only female on this list, but don’t let that fool you. Sally Jenkins is better qualified to talk sports than anyone writing or reading this blog. The former head writer for Sports Illustrated is now an award winning feature columnist for the Washington Post. I’m not sure what it is, perhaps because she is a woman she has a different perspective, but Jenkins brings a new light and a refreshing look to the stories she writes about. And the Washington D.C. area is far better for having her.



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