If you ask former Brooklyn Nets public address announcer, David Diamante, about his life, he’d tell you he’s “super blessed.”
That’s despite barely surviving a nearly fatal motorcycle accident on March 10 in San Francisco. The accident resulted in breaks in six places, five in arm, a tibia fracture, abnormally large bruises, countless hours of physical therapy ...
And a miraculous recovery that saw him riding again less than two months later ... and calling games two days later.
“The doctor said he’s never seen anything like it,” he said, puffing his custom blend of cigars titled ‘Diamante’s’ in his Brooklyn Cigar Lounge in Fort Greene. “I still feel pain. The arm will never be the same – I was lucky to be alive. My arm actually broke off my body – the meat alone was keeping it on there.”
But it wasn’t going to stop him from calling games. Nope.
"In my six years I never missed a game,” he told NetsDaily in an exclusive interview. “I have called every Nets home game for the first five years in Brooklyn. I wasn't about to start now.
“The accident happened March 10. I flew back to NY March 11 and was behind the mic for the game against the Knicks which was March 12 (it was Biggie night). I finished out the season. I think I called 10 games like that. It was close to a month left in the season when I got injured. #BrooklynGrit!!!"
Diamante, 45, was the Nets announcer for their last season in New Jersey and all five in Brooklyn. He’s moving on —he felt like it was time and is pursuing other interests. And although he won’t say it, you have to think what he admits was a near-death experience just might have had something to do with his decision. The team is looking for a replacement, even holding auditions.
He’s not giving up bikes, however. He still rides every day.
“I love to travel on bikes, it’s a freeing thing,” said Diamante. “I think it’s a great way to experience your natural surroundings. You get into these nooks and crannies with a motorcycle that you couldn’t get on a tour bus or car. You can smell the air – you’re a part of your surroundings instead of observing, you’re more a part of it.”
In fact, he had just returned from a bike trip just before working the Adrien Broner vs Mikey Garcia fight card at Barclays Center on July 29. He started in China. From there he flew to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) and bought a motorcycle, rode through Vietnam, through Cambodia, then back down to Ho Chi Minh City again before flying to Taiwan. In his past he’s also ridden from India to Pakistan and back, and later rode through El Salvador and Colombia.
He approaches public address announcing in a similar, fearless fashion that he does bikes, whether it’d be for the Nets or for local fights, which he’s done for the last 15 years. Before every game or every fight, Diamante’s approach is the same. One of his motto’s: “fail to prepare, prepare to fail.”
To whomever the Nets choose as their next PA announcer, his advice is just that. Big stage like Barclays Center, or a smaller fight venue of a couple thousand seats, preparation is key. He finds out how to pronounce names, associate names with numbers. Composure is essential too.
“I might smoke a cigar, relax, and then, boom, jump into the fire,” he said, pun not intended. “It’s like a mental meditation. You never rush a cigar, as you can see (holding up his cigar). I take my time with it.”
Prayer is also an important part of his lifestyle and pregame ritual. He does it throughout the day, before a game, before a fight, for different events.
“You take your time with your thoughts,” he said. “You can kind of visualize what you want to happen. I think that’s really important, preparing in every scenario. I like to say I wear a belt and suspenders, of course, I’m joking, but I’m not in a way. I’m talking figuratively but if my belt snaps, I got my suspenders on – you’ve always got to be ready. You always have to have a backup plan, be a cat, and land on your feet.”
Like he does on a bike, Diamante changes course fairly effortlessly between the Nets, boxing, the Cigar Lounge and his other ventures. He gives him some sense of balance.
Then, there’s the element of personality. The vibrant voice and abnormally long dreadlocks became a staple for the Brooklyn community when the team moved from New Jersey in 2012, one year after joining the organization and three years after the birth of his Cigar Lounge.
“As soon as the Barclays Center was built, it just changed everything,” he said, reminiscing. “Barclays is state of the art: Broadway lighting, herringbone hardwood, and it was built for the Nets. The Brooklyn crowd just came out with force, and for me, because I’m a Brooklyn guy, being able to call games and see all these people in the audience that I know and are texting me and coming here after to my lounge after the game where we talk about stuff, coming over to Brooklyn had such a community vibe.”
He has lots of memories, but he says one game tops it all.
“It’s hard to say because there have been so many great moments. But if I had to try, here goes: First game in Brooklyn. First game against the Knicks. Pretty much any game against the Knicks. Pretty much the whole first season in Brooklyn.
There were others too.
“Beating Toronto in the first round of the playoffs. When Jay Z and Beyonce walked across the court to meet Prince William and Kate Middleton and I got to welcome the royal couple over the PA system (‘the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge’) during a game with LeBron James and the Cavaliers. All the great buzzer beaters with Joe Johnson, Randy Foye and Brook Lopez. Loved all the charity events especially at Maimonides Hospital, too,” he said.
Diamante will still maintain his relationship with Barclays, through Brooklyn Boxing. Barclays he says is becoming “the mecca of boxing, not only in New York, but (almost) in America.” He says he’ll “absolutely” still follow the Nets, and even likes what they’re doing right now in their rebuilding stages.
“I’ll tell you one thing about the Nets, I think they’re going to be fun to watch, and that’s the most important thing right now,” he said. “I don’t think it’s necessarily about wins and losses at this point, it’s about the guys working hard and building a culture. It’s a process. They’re going with that youth, going with that speed … and I love Kenny (Atkinson)’s work ethic.”
He also spoke about his relationship with Brett Yormark, the CEO of Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment. He called Yormark an amazing, hard-working and caring individual.
“I’ve known Brett from the beginning,” said Diamante. “He wears a lot of hats. I’ve just always gotten along really well with him. Brett’s always there when you need to talk to him. He’s been amazing. He works really hard to push the brand, and he’s great at what he does.”
Net fans, though, will always remember, that signature phrase, especially when the first time a Miami Heat player launches a pass out of bounds in the preseason opener. He won’t be there but fans will think it and maybe mouth it.
“That’s Brooklyn ball … I said, Brooklyn ball!”