“Sweet Spot,” by Mike Sugerman
NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — It was a very public job interview for the Brooklyn Nets’ public address announcer. More than 175 people tried out.
I don’t know who got it. I know who didn’t.
“Hello, my name is Mike Sugerman,” I said into a microphone on the floor of Barclays Center, as half a dozen judges faced me a basketball court away.
I’d like to make the following announcement: I don’t think it went very well.
“Hello, Brooklyn!” I screeched, reading what was written on the card they gave me.
But it was hello and goodbye for me.
Like the others, I came because it sounded cool. What sports fan wouldn’t want to do it?
“It’s a dream job,” said John Bimanti, who drove two hours from Connecticut to get there. “On the bucket list.”
That’s what I thought.
“All my life I’ve wanted a job where I didn’t have to work hard and still get paid,” same a man named Walter who I met while he was having a cigarette outside.
I don’t think he got it either.
Looking around the arena, we were pretty much the same, with varying degrees of hair and paunches, with voices somebody probably once told us were nice. Varying degrees of experience, too.
“I do it in the shower, and for my kids,” Bimanti said.
“I have 50 years experience,” Kevin Van Meter told me.
He seemed like the one to beat. College basketball, backup to the Islanders guy, boxing ring announcer –Oh yeah, he knew his stuff.
“I make sure I get the sponsor’s name and stuff right,” he said. “They are the ones paying.”
Like I said, we all pretty much looked the same, with a few exceptions, like Amanda Nemhardt. She’s a fledging actress who came in near the top when the Nets held their first such audition six years ago. The guy who won just retired.
“I think New York, and especially Brooklyn, is all about diversity,” she said. “It’s time for a woman to be in that seat.”
They’d be smart to go with Nemhardt, who was one of maybe three women who tried out.
They haven’t made any announcements yet about the new announcer, and I haven’t heard back yet. Silence is never good for a public address announcer.