Kevin Harlan Kevin Harlan in 2016.

Kevin Harlan has become iconic to a generation of NBA fans for the animated way in which he calls the league’s biggest games as the top announcer for TNT Sports. But even the legendary Harlan worries that viewers at home will think he is playing his exuberance up for the cameras.

Harlan recently told Barrett Sports Media’s Derek Futterman that he believes he lets the fan part of him come out too often. He said he’s trying to focus on spotlighting the incredible athletes on the court and the game analysts he works with rather than taking the spotlight with his thrilling calls.

“I probably let that fan side of me come out too much, and I hope no one ever feels like it’s manufactured,” Harlan told BSM, recalling a friend who reminded him that his energetic style could not be faked.

“They’re probably right,” Harlan added. “So I am a fan, and I just think it’s such an honor to be there and doing these games for TNT representing the NBA and calling the great players that I’ve been able to call.”

Harlan calls the NFL for CBS and Westwood One and previously called college football for ESPN. But he’s a basketball broadcaster first and foremost. He called Kansas men’s hoops while in college, then became the full-time play-by-play announcer for the Kansas City Kings at 22.

That passion is genuine, and Harlan still has it all these decades later.

“In the NBA, I get to see the most skilled, the lightning-fast, quick-twitch movements and the unbelievable artistry that is the NBA,” Harlan told BSM. “And then I get to do these college games in the tournament where the stakes are so high, the emotions are palpable in the arenas and the passion with which these kids play and the consequence which they look in the eye every single second is so compelling that I can’t help myself but be engrossed in each.”

Harlan is working the NBA playoffs with Reggie Miller, and is equally great giving space to his analysts as he is vaulting a moment to iconic status himself.

While Harlan’s comments are admirably introspective, he is being quite hard on himself. You would be hard-pressed to find a hoops fan who rejects Harlan’s stylings. He is the top announcer on the league’s most recognized broadcast partner, and has too many iconic calls to count.

[Barrett Sports Media]

About Brendon Kleen

Brendon is a Media Commentary staff writer at Awful Announcing. He has also covered basketball and sports business at Front Office Sports, SB Nation, Uproxx and more.