One of the NBA’s greatest voices is CHRIS DENARI. Chris is the television play-by-play broadcaster for the Indiana Pacers. He’s also among an elite group of professionals and game ambassadors involved in the NBA’s global outreach, as he and partner (Indiana University basketball legend Quinn Buckner) traveled to Africa in 2015 as part of the NBA’s Basketball without Borders program.
Chris Denari, right, with Quinn Buckner
Chris is the voice of the WNBA’s Indiana Fever, and also has past stops at Butler University and Indianapolis television stations in his career. In Indiana, followers of the Indy 500 know Chris Denari’s voice and broadcasts from his perch at Turn Four of the Indianapolis 500 at the Motor Speedway. He’s a member of the Indiana Sportswriters and Sportscasters Hall of Fame.
Chris and I first crossed paths back in 1979. Brad Boyd and I were running the Student News Bureau at Wabash College. Chris was an incoming freshman, trying out for the Wabash basketball team, and desirous of trying his hand at broadcasting.
It didn’t take long at all for Chris to make his mark. He also took over as the host of “The Stan Parrish Show” a weekly cable television program which began with Chris doing a “Q and A” session with Wabash football coach Stan Parrish. Parrish went on to coach both with leading NCAA Division I programs and also in the NFL. You might know a guy he tutored at the University of Michigan named Tom Brady. But I digress …
Chris was phenomenal as a student broadcaster. He studied the opposing team’s players, and was usually better informed about BOTH teams than other college broadcasters would be about their own squad. He parlayed his interest and transformed his student experience into an internship, and then a full-time job, with an Indianapolis television station upon graduation from Wabash in 1983. He also earned a NCAA champion ring as part of the college’s 1981-1982 Division III national championship baskettball squad. He’s still participates in game-day shoot arounds sometimes.
Today, as I type this, Chris is on the Indiana Pacers’ team jet heading from Indianapolis to Cleveland. Tomorrow he’ll be at Media Row at the Quicken Loans Arena, broadcasting the Pacers vs. Cavs game. But before that, Chris is giving some of his own time and talent to about 10 students from Cuyahoga Community College.
He has agreed to meet with these students, and share a little bit about his career path and what his job is like with the Pacers. My Tri-C students are also benefitting from the kindness of the Cleveland Cavaliers, who are letting them visit Quicken Loans Arena and see the areas in which the media work before, during and after NBA Contests. (Here’s a quick shout-out and thanks to you Alyssa, for helping to set this up for Cuyahoga Community College.)
THANK YOU so much Chris. Among your many accomplishments, you’re also a terrific mentor as well as Some Little Giant.
NOTE TO MY STUDENTS: Be sure to arrive around 3:45 p.m. at the gray door on the SOUTH end of Quicken Loans Arena (nearest to Progressive Field). As long as you exit by 5:15 p.m. you can park your vehicle at the Tri-C District Office parking garage. (The garage opens for game customers later, with proceeds funding Tri-C scholarship programs.)
NOTE TO MY WABASH FAMILY: Thank you! I continue to be amazed at the response to “Glory Reborn: Wabash College and its Athletic Teams, 1977-1982.” There is a pretty positive “buzz” about the book on social media, especially among the 55-60ish crowd of Wabash alumni. Here’s a link to a story from the college’s website about the book, which includes connections to both a podcast about the book as well as an order form if you want to obtain a copy. http://sports.wabash.edu/news/2017/1/23/basketball-wabash-celebrates-national-champs-new-book.aspx
Happy Valentine’s Day to all.