Storied commentator Mike Breen has now lost his two announcing partners in Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson since ESPN sensationally fired them.
Van Gundy was let go in late June and Jackson just this Monday. The trio had called 15 NBA Finals together.
“It’s sad because we really thought we had something special and … we were able to do it a lot longer than anybody ever did,” Breen told The New York Post. “It’s something we’ll all treasure, but we just wish it was a little bit longer.
“You don’t expect it, because it was such a great team and to have it completely broken up was a surprise.”
The trio had known each other for the better part of 30 years, so Breen says it will be hard to come to terms with the enormous loss.
“The other part of it is the personal part, and that’s tougher,” Breen said. “Now, we’re going to be friends until the day we die. Those guys taught me so much about what I know about the NBA. I’ve learned more from those two than anybody. But they’ve also taught me about stuff that has nothing to do with basketball. I look up to both of them because not just their talents as broadcasters, but the kind of men they are. I just feel so privileged to have that time.
“I’ve always said that I’m so honored to call the Finals every year, but what made it so special for me is I got to call it with those two and seeing it come to an end, it’s hard to come to grips with.”
Jackson confirmed the news on Monday in a classy statement on Twitter, where he explained how much of a shock the decision was.
“This morning, unexpectedly, I was informed that my services were no longer needed at ESPN,” Jackson tweeted. “Although shocked and dismayed with the suddenness of it all, I would like to thank ESPN and all the staff of the NBA ESPN crew for allowing me to be a part of the organization for the past 15+ years. I would also like to thank the NBA fans watching at home and in arenas throughout the league for all of your support. To the NBA, a heartfelt thank you for allowing a kid to continue to accomplish his dreams.”
From the fans perspective, it will be strange not to hear those three voices during the NBA Finals.
It is being widely reported that ESPN are planning to promote Doris Burke as well as hire Doc Rivers and that will be Breen’s new team but nothing has been confirmed as yet.