Doc Rivers in his return to the broadcast booth calling the matchup between the Celtics and the Knicks. Photo Credit: ESPN

Former NBA head coach Doc Rivers returned to the broadcast booth for the first time in over 20 years on Wednesday night. And it’s safe to say that most fans watching at home weren’t exactly thrilled with how he sounded in his return.

Rivers was let go by the Philadelphia 76ers as their head coach this past offseason. And he instantly received interest from ESPN, later joining the lead broadcast team for the company alongside Mike Breen and Doris Burke.

He last worked for ESPN during the 2003-04 season before accepting another coaching gig. This much time away from broadcasting meant that most fans could obviously expect him to be a little rusty in ESPN’s debut broadcast of the 2023-24 season on Wednesday night.

Not only was he a little rusty, but many fans took exception to his voice which is noticeably more raspy than it was in his previous stint with ESPN.

An example of that can be seen below while Rivers, Breen, and Burke were previewing the matchup they would be calling between the New York Knicks and the Boston Celtics.


Rivers’ voice should come as no surprise to those who have heard him in interviews as a coach in recent years. However, the majority of fans seem to believe that he has been quite hard to understand at times on Wednesday night.

The reason so many fans are picking up on this could also be because they simply aren’t used to Rivers in the booth just yet. Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy, and Mark Jackson were obviously an iconic trio that fans at home have been accustomed to for years while watching NBA games on ESPN.

It may take some time before fans get used to Rivers calling games once again. But at least early on, it appears clear that most NBA fans would prefer if Rivers were still coaching on the sidelines instead of being in the booth…

[Awful Announcing on Twitter]

About Reice Shipley

Reice Shipley is a staff writer for Comeback Media that graduated from Ithaca College with a degree in Sports Media. He previously worked at Barrett Sports Media and is a fan of all things Syracuse sports.