The Nets haven’t exactly been the most exciting team to watch over the past couple of seasons and who knows that more than the fans? However, there’s always been at least one consistently great aspect of watching Nets games: the Nets on YES crew.
Despite some boring or bad – or boring and bad basketball at times – the YES crew always brings its “A” game no matter what the circumstances may be. This starts with Producer Frank DiGraci and trickles down to all of the on-air personalities such as Ian Eagle, Sarah Kustok, Ryan Ruocco, Mike Fratello, Jim Spanarkel, Chris Carrino and Donny Marshall.
Nets on YES features plenty of entertaining stuff that everybody seems to enjoy.
Things like “15 years of Nets on Yes” which highlight memorable moments over the past 15 years of the network broadcasting New Jersey/Brooklyn Nets games, have provided Nets fans with some great memories (and some nostalgia). Then of course, you have “Wear Brooklyn At” in which fans send in photos from around the world while wearing their favorite Brooklyn Nets gear.
Finally, you’ve got the “Who Am I” feature that’s gained national recognition in Zach Lowe’s latest piece of “Ten things I like and don’t like”.
In Lowe’s piece, he highlights the highly competitive and very entertaining “Who Am I” feature that began in 2011-2012 — the last season in New Jersey. Standings weren’t implemented until the 2015-2016 season when Ian Eagle led team Play-by-Play to the promise land.
Brooklyn's broadcast crew, the very best in the league, knows fans can only take so much Spencer Dinwiddie analysis, and they've invented games to pass the time. The centerpiece: "Who Am I?" Producers reveal three clues about a mystery figure in that night's game, starting with a vague descriptor and escalating -- if no one guesses -- to the ultra-specific. The play-by-play guys (Ian Eagle and Ryan Ruocco), analysts (Mike Fratello, Jim Spanarkel, Donny Marshall), and sideline reporter (Sarah Kustok) each shout out guesses as the clues appear on screen. They can guess only once.
The first one to get it right gets a point. They keep standings. They have a trophy.
Lowe talks about how far ahead Sarah Kustok was in the standings, so they adjusted by putting her on the analysts side as they were fading fast.
The analysts are clinging to a six-point lead with nine games to go, and sources say Kustok is rattled. A reporter witnessed Kustok, Eagle, and a YES producer having an animated discussion about the new bonus questions in the bowels of Barclays Center before Thursday night's game -- and before Kustok righted herself by nailing both questions.
Don't let the tongue-in-cheek agony and ecstasy fool you: They care. The winning team will brag for a year, and the losers will plot revenge. "Who Am I?" is the best part of every Nets broadcast, and certainly the most anticipated among fans.
And that folks is that exact reason why this network and the people running it win awards yearly and gain national attention despite covering a team that hasn’t been all too thrilling over the years.
As Nets fans and followers, the YES crew has spoiled us.