Mike Breen had an impressive consecutive NBA Finals game streak ruined by COVID-19 earlier this month, and according to the broadcaster, it gave him a greater appreciation for being the league’s lead voice.
After testing positive for COVID, Breen missed Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals and the first two games of the NBA Finals between the Boston Celtics and Golden State Warriors. It ended a streak of 91-straight NBA Finals games called by Breen, who has been ABC’s voice for the championship series since 2006.
A 17 year streak came to an end last week. @PabloTorre talked to Mike Breen on what it was like to not be in the arena for an NBA Finals game for the first time since 2005. https://t.co/nRVdN8Bm2Y pic.twitter.com/hbTM21oj7w
— Jason Barrett (@sportsradiopd) June 13, 2022
“I’ve always appreciated the privilege and the responsibility of calling Finals games,” Breen acknowledged. “But that appreciation skyrocketed after watching the first two games.”
Mark Jones filled the void created by Breen’s absence. And after Jeff Van Gundy was also ruled out because of COVID, Jones partnered with Mark Jackson and Lisa Salters to create the first all-Black broadcast team to call an NBA Finals game.
“It was wonderful to watch my colleague, Mark Jones, who’s a great buddy, nail it in his first chance to do some Finals games,” Breen said.
According to Breen he never experienced any symptoms during his COVID absence. Van Gundy, however, sounded as if he was battling through his own version of the Michael Jordan flu game while on-air before he was finally ruled out for Game 1 of the NBA Finals.
“I was one of those that had no symptoms and kept testing positive, which is probably more frustrating than the alternative,” Breen said, although he did admit being asymptomatic was still “probably a little easier” than dealing with the alternative, which I’m sure the millions of people who battled through severe COVID symptoms would agree.
Breen added that he was already in San Francisco for the Finals when he tested positive for COVID, confining him to his hotel room for six days until he was eligible to return. But he remained locked into the series in his absence.
“The game was it, that was the whole day,” Breen said. “Not to have any interruption, I put my phone off to the side because I wanted to really concentrate.
Breen returned for Game 3 of the NBA Finals, meaning his 91 consecutive game streak currently sits at two.