NCAA Tournament Broadcaster Kevin Harlan Reveals The Secret Behind The Perfect Live Read

Managing Editor, Sports + DIME

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Kevin Harlan’s voice is unmistakeable. It’s at once authoritative and warm, squarely in “how a GPS should address you” territory. Behind every call is subtext, parentheses, a whisper of can you believe I get to do this every day? In a world where “love what you do” isn’t a mantra but, instead, a tool and trick to fool people into working harder and for longer hours for the same amount of pay, Harlan still truly loves what he does. He always has. And it’s hard not to return that love while watching the games he broadcasts.

Harlan is a snug fit in today’s sports ecosystem as a bridge between the past and the future. He brings with him decades of experience calling multiple high profile football and basketball games, mixing consistency with levity, and some of his best — or most memorable — calls border on the absurd. A streaker runs on the field? Harlan will call it masterfully. Someone chowing down on bison nachos heading to commercial? Harlan will give it the treatment it deserves. Today’s sponsors require mashing Grey Goose and “Taco Bell Nacho Fries” together? Harlan’s your man.

He’s seen true Cinderellas. He’s dealt with heartbreak and epic moments. He’s called games from unheralded players he’d later see again as stars in the NBA. And he seems to be enjoying every minute of it.

Dime had a chance to catch up with Harlan prior to the NCAA Tournament West Regional games in Anaheim which he called for Turner/CBS sports, and discussed the difference between calling NBA vs. NCAA games, finding humor in the call, and those masterful livereads.

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