Timberwolves Hire Play-By-Play Voice with Limited Experience

Photo: Michael Grady

The Minnesota Timberwolves fired their decade-long play-by-play voice, Dave Benz, earlier this offseason, angering the fanbase and much of the local media world. Soon after, it was reported that new owners, Alex Rodriguez and Marc Lore, were looking for a recognizable, big name voice. Someone that even casual sports fans would get excited about.

What other attributes were the Wolves looking for in their next PBP voice? They specifically told media that they wanted somebody whose skin color isn’t white. Well, they checked one of those boxes today when they announced the hiring of YES Network’s sideline reporter and part-time play-by-play commentator, Michael Grady.

YES Network (New York) is, undoubtedly, a larger and better funded local network than Bally Sports North, but Michael Grady isn’t a well-known voice, like some of those who have been floated.

Grady has spent the last five seasons with the YES Network, working sideline duty with the Brooklyn Nets. There’s a funny video of an interview he did with D’Angelo Russell in 2019, where he informs DLo after a win that they clinched a playoff spot.

There’s no doubt Grady has a bright future in broadcasting. He has a great voice and, for a youngster, he has really good flow in his commentating. All and all, fans will be happy with Grady as the new voice of the Wolves. Here he is calling the Nets @ Magic last season, when Kyrie Irving went off for 60 points.

Questionable Hiring Practices

But this hire has to call into question the firing of Dave Benz. Not only did the Timberwolves fail in their search for a well-known basketball voice, like Gus Johnson or Kevin Harlan. But they ended up hiring a young sideline reporter who has very little experience announcing NBA games.

In other words, the Wolves fired a 10-year veteran, who NOBODY was complaining about. A guy who the fans loved and had grown with. Afterward, the team told reporters that being a different color than Benz was an important part of the search criteria, when finding his replacement.

If hiring a Minnesota Timberwolves play-by-play voice and you compared the resumes and fan excitement for Dave Benz vs Michael Grady, Benz would get the job in a landslide. Unless, of course, you’re making the decision strictly based on a candidate’s skin color. Which, I’m pretty sure is illegal.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan