SNIDER: Losing Steve Buckhantz is a dagger

Rick Snider
March 07, 2019 - 12:40 pm
Wizards losing Steve Buckhantz is a dagger

Twitter: @SteveBuckhantz

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It's bad enough the Washington Wizards are unwatchable many nights. Now they may be unlistenable next season.

The Washington Post reported NBC Sports Washington informed Wiz broadcast Steve Buckhantz that it won't automatically renew the final year of his contract. This after two years ago not renewing Buckhantz's popular sidekick Phil Chenier.

Tell me, in what universe is Wiz general manager Ernie Grunfeld still employed, but Buckhantz isn't?

This is a dagger.

The Wiz have been awful through much of Buckhantz's 22 seasons with the team. But, he made the game bearable through his insight. "Buck" is a quality person and that always shines through. He's funny and genuine. When the team has its too often really bad nights, Buckhantz isn't a phony and tells the truth, but not in a way that you just turn on Seinfeld reruns instead of watching the rest of a loss.

NBC Sports Washington execs are clearly looking for someone cheaper. Maybe that person does a fine job, just like Kara Lawson has replacing Chenier, but it's not the same.

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The key to watching a perennially-bad team is the announcer. They keep you not only engaged, but invested. On good nights, they raise the excitement. Who doesn't love hearing Buckhantz's trademark "Dagger!" after a game-winner?

Buckhantz's delivery is so smooth, it feels like an old friend calling the game. And, the Wiz can use all the friends they can get.

Now, NBC Sports Washington execs can still re-sign Buckhantz for another year if public pressure forces them. But that also requires Buckhantz wanting to return after being publicly called out. Who can blame him for wanting to move on, given one more year would most likely be just that?

Certainly, it would be nice to have Buckhantz back on the local nightly news as he was for years on Channel 5. But, TV execs no longer value anything more than death and weather. The days of Glenn Brenner, Warner Wolf and George Michael are long gone and we're worse off for it.

So good luck to listening to the Wiz next fall without Buckhantz. It won't be the same.

Rick Snider has covered Washington sports since 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @Snide_Remarks