Commentary in NBA Live
Beginning with NBA Live 98, each game in the NBA Live series has featured commentary to aid in capturing the atmosphere of a television broadcast. The current voice talent for NBA Live includes Marv Albert (TNT, formerly NBC), Steve Kerr (current Phoenix Suns president, former TNT analyst and NBA guard), Ernie Johnson (TNT) and Greg Anthony (ESPN). Former voice talent includes Verne Lundquist (CBS), the late Don Poier (former Memphis Grizzlies announcer), Bob Elliot (former NBA player), Reggie Theus (TNT, former NBA player and coach), Kenny Smith (TNT, former NBA player) and Mike Fratello (TNT, NBC, former NBA coach).
Game by game
|NBA Live 98||Verne Lundquist||N/A**||N/A|
|NBA Live 99||Don Poier||N/A||N/A|
|NBA Live 2000||Don Poier||Reggie Theus||N/A|
|NBA Live 2001||Don Poier||Bob Elliot||N/A|
|NBA Live 2002||Don Poier||Bob Elliot||N/A|
|NBA Live 2003||Don Poier||Bob Elliot||N/A|
|NBA Live 2004||Marv Albert||Mike Fratello||N/A|
|NBA Live 2005||Marv Albert||Mike Fratello||Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith|
|NBA Live 06||Marv Albert||Steve Kerr||Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith|
|NBA Live 07||Marv Albert||Steve Kerr||Ernie Johnson, Greg Anthony|
|NBA Live 08||Marv Albert||Steve Kerr||Ernie Johnson, Greg Anthony|
|NBA Live 09||Marv Albert||Steve Kerr||Ernie Johnson, Greg Anthony|
|NBA Live '10||Marv Albert||Steve Kerr||Ernie Johnson*, Greg Anthony*|
* To Be Confirmed
** Ernie Johnson provided additional voiceovers for the frontend menus in NBA Live 98
A PA Announcer has been featured in some form in every game of the series. In NBA Live 95 and NBA Live 96 however, the only PA audio consisted of an enthusiastic call of "Three!" on a successful three point shot. The PC versions also included introductory voiceovers in the frontend menus before games and during quarter breaks. NBA Live 97 was the first game to expand on PA speech and all games since have featured a more complete repetoire from the PA Announcer including announcing the names of players who score, players who register an assist, the two minute notice and any game infractions when they are whistled.
Reception & Criticism
The introduction of commentary back in NBA Live 98 was well received by most fans who felt it added to the atmosphere by closer resembling a television broadcast. Most fans remain a fan of the presence of commentary however some have voiced a dislike for it, describing it as being distracting. Criticisms of the commentary through the years mostly revolve around contextual errors (describing a bad play as having been a problem "all game long" in the first couple of minutes, etc) though some fans have also expressed a dislike for certain voiceover talent. Some comments that are made when gameplay mistakes are made, such as accidentally pressing the shoot button in the backcourt and launching a fullcourt shot, have also been criticised for referencing controls and other video game elements (eg suggesting the user enter Practice Mode) on the principle that such comments detract from the intended atmosphere.
Steve Kerr's Continued Participation
Despite resigning his position as an analyst for TNT to concentrate on his duties with the Phoenix Suns, Steve Kerr has continued to call games alongside Marv Albert in NBA Live. The producers have indicated that this is decision was made due to Kerr's chemistry with Albert and willingness to be involved with NBA Live.