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Yessss! Hundreds compete to be Nets announcer • Brooklyn Paper

Yessss! Hundreds compete to be Nets announcer

Competition to become the new Nets announcer wasn’t easy, given that would-be PA voices, like Jersey resident Adam Hamway, had to audition in front of their rivals.
Photo by Elizabeth Graham

Ladies and gentlemen, your soon-to-be Brooklyn Nets new announcer is … still undecided.

More than 300 wannabe Bob Sheppards auditioned last Friday to be the new voice of the Barclays Center-bound team — but after hours of tryouts, Nets officials had succeeded in winnowing the field down to 15.

Booming, powerful voices rang through the two rounds of auditions at the Mark Morris Dance Studio in Fort Greene, with some contestants channeling the spirit of the late great Yankee PA announcer, others going for more raw, spontaneous energy.

Tony Mitchell, a 51-year-old resident of Bedford-Stuyvesant and an announcer at the 30,000-member Christian Cultural Center in East New York, said the competition was stiff.

“When you go in for these things, you kind of think you’re the only guy with a deep voice,” he said. “Then you hear the other guys.”

Mitchell survived the first two rounds and will try to win the job at a final audition next week in New Jersey.

One of the people he’ll be up against is Gassem Miles, a 37-year-old party MC from Queens with a voice reminiscent of rapper Busta Rhymes. Miles took a more natural approach.

“Other people were trying to sound like announcers on WFAN, ESPN and they weren’t sounding natural,” he said. “I was sounding like I sound now — just louder.”

The vocal artists were auditioning for two positions with the Nets: master of ceremonies and public address announcer. They were given a script to read with lines such as, “Tonight your Nets take on the Boston Celtics!”

Stadium announcing is a male-dominated world, but a handful of women participated in the auditions — and three made the final cut.

At the finals, the would-be MC’s will read scripts and call a videotaped game.

And if you think that a strong Brooklyn accent was a prerequisite for the audition, the panel of Nets officials who served as judges had one word: fuhgedaboudit.

“We weren’t looking for someone that had a specific accent, we were just looking for someone that could speak clearly with a sense of excitement and with a strong booming voice,” said Petra Pope, the senior vice president for event marketing and community relations for the Nets.

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