prattle tales
Analysis or discussion of Van Gundy's meatloaf recipe? Could be either or.

prattle tales (prat'-l talz) noun. The coaching/playing anecdotes and miscellaneous personal information (usually inane) shared by play-by-play announcers and color commentators during the "dead spots" of a live telecast, particularly if the game is lopsided or boring.

Usage example: Jeff Van Gundy's a pretty good broadcaster, but he sure spends a lot of time on his prattle tales.

Word history: The term was coined on the Quixotica blog, a self-described compendium of mondern invented slang. Upon discovering it, I was immediately reminded of our good friends Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson, who like to talk about themselves, their personal/professional relationship and other insipid factoids regarding their days as coach and player almost as much as (or perhaps more than) they like to talk about, you know, the game they're broadcasting. Take the following example (via Awful Announcing) in which JVG discusses bowling, childhood obesity, knife fighting and Sasha Vujacic's workout regimen. And it's not like this was some meaningless mid-season game between the Hawks and Grizzlies; it was Game 5 of the NBA Finals.



In all fairness though, Bill Walton was doing this long before Jeff, especially when he first began broadcasting. Seriously, Walton can work an anecdote about playing alongside Larry Bird into almost any circumstance. I often wonder if he also does that at home over family dinners. Like, when his wife asks him to pass the mashed potatoes, I bet Bill says something like, "That reminds me of '86, when I was fortunate enough to be on the same team as one Larry Joe Bird, who was a great basketball player and an even greater man. His passing wasn't limited to sending mashed potatoes across the dinner table. He took moving the basketball from himself to a teammate and made it an art form that transcended the game itself. Michelangelo's 'David' had nothing on this give-and-go backdoor pass he gave me against the Lakers on one chilly January evening..."

Labels: , ,

14 Comments:
Blogger Michael said...
Spot-on Bill Walton impression.

Blogger Reid Sassman said...
God I miss you Bill Walton.

Anonymous andy said...
yeah that was fluent Waltonese, bravo!

Walt "Clyde" Frazier is also fond of a prattle tale or ten during the course of a broadcast.

Blogger BJ said...
Ah yes . . . the stuff that makes me wish I drank beer so I could throw the cans at the TV. Diet Pepsi cans just don't have the same ooomph.

Anonymous Pistonsgirl4life said...
I HATE Bill Walton. Like I know this is hardly news to anyone who's watched a broadcast but really I just want to throw that out there. Bill Walton's insipid side stories NEEDED a nickname.. "Prattle Tales" is acceptable but I would have gone with something more like "Bill Walton Must Die"....

I literally turn the sound off if he's announcing. 4really.

Anonymous AK Dave said...
PG4L- man, that's some serious haterade you're drinkin' there!

I like BW- he's a damn riot. I don't take him seriously- but he's great for a laugh... though I'm not sure if I'm laughing with him or AT him...

All you Seattleites out there know the great play-by-play man Kevin Calabro can prattle with the best of 'em. I remember in the '05 season when he started talking about some catfish fishing trip with his crazy uncle in the 3rd quarter of a Sonics blowout (they were good back then... damn you Jerome James!!)

Anonymous Nick F. (Buck Nasty) said...
There goes to love and hate on Walton. By the way Matt, you know that I'm the guy who does Walton around here. I admit that I sometimes turn my regular life into a running Walton-esque commentary. Here's one about the game of football: Just imagine the difference between this gridiron with and without those on the field. Out there, pouring their souls into the very grass, oh what a fantastic sport! The strength, the quickness, the sheer know how you have to have to survive out there on that battlefield. Without those warriors, it's just some grass with lines on it, and what a terrible time that would be! It reminds me of a story that I heard from the great Red Auerbach...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
"Hawks and Grizzlies; it was Game 5 of the NBA Finals"....your slippin 'Bawful

Anonymous Anonymous said...
You have Walton-speak down to a science.

Blogger m. Alana said...
The great thing about "prattle tales" is the multitude of ways in which it's manifested. The aforementioned Walton's pseudo-poetic ramblings (which were excellently executed in this post, by the way); JVG's half-brilliantly-funny, half-stunningly-awkward anecdotes and badly timed one-liners; and, of course, Reggie Millers' all-around inappropriateness.

One word: nipple.

(I'm named my next band "The Jeff Van Gundys". Or possibly just "The Van Gundys". Great band name, or the greatest band name?)

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Reggie Miller wishes he could spin a good prattle tale. he still gives it his best shot, bless him.

Anonymous Wormboy said...
@ Pistonsgirl4life:

"I HATE Bill Walton. Like I know this is hardly news to anyone who's watched a broadcast but really I just want to throw that out there. Bill Walton's insipid side stories NEEDED a nickname.. "Prattle Tales" is acceptable but I would have gone with something more like "Bill Walton Must Die"...."

Look, I understand that Bill Walton is an arrogant ass. He undeniably is. HOWEVER, he is also the ONLY announcer who has the balls to say anything that the league may not like. For example, criticizing refereeing, or criticizing league policy. In other words, he's the only major NBA announcer who isn't a total ass-kissing toady. To me, this counter-balances the fact that he is a donkey, and earns him my grudging respect.

Because, after all, David Stern is the anti-Christ.

Blogger BP said...
The pinnacle of Bill Walton's prattle tale-ing came on ESPN's eulogy podcast(!) after Dennis Johnson died. He started to talk about DJ, then launched into a five minute story about the "one on one grudge match" against Kevin McHale he had in practice.

Blogger brendan said...
although it doesn't fit the definition, this is the best bill walton commentary of all time - boris diaw's game compared to a Beethoven symphony
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FSZS6sRVWsk

Links to this post:
Create a Link