Can Chuck Swirsky Be Replaced?

About two weeks ago, Chuck Swirsky, the voice of the Toronto Raptors, decided to leave Toronto after ten years and return to his former home in Chicago. The split between Swirsky and our beloved basketball team was amicable, with Swirsky claiming family reasons and personal commitments for his departure.

It's no question that Swirsky will be missed. Whether you liked his style or not, he was definitely one of the most colorful commentators in the NBA, and has earned several accolades for his excitable play-by-play. The video below demonstrates some of his play-calling skills:

Swirsky's iconic phrases such as "onions baby, onions" and "Break out the salami and cheese" made him one of the most exciting parts of watching a Raptor games — especially when the dinos were struggling. He has long been considered by fans around the NBA as one of the best live basketball commentators, and his play-by-play skills have been coveted by many teams and broadcast stations. Before coming to Toronto, he was once named Chicago Sportscaster of the Year.

So now that Swirsky is gone, who is going to be the new voice of the Raptors? Will the replacement be able to adequately capture the emotions of the Toronto fans (a burgeoning yet vocal NBA audience) and also keep them entertained?

Sure, there are a lot of play-by-play commentators out there, and a lot of them are really good. Mike Tirico, Marv Albert, and Hubie Brown come to mind, but do the Raptors have the kind of clout to attract a big name like them?

My recommendation? Get a real Toronto Raptor fan to do the play-by-play. Find someone local who not only knows basketball, but truly gets excited by the team and the sport. Maybe RaptorsTV can sponsor a contest where fans can send in their play-by-play samples and the winner gets to work the games?

Whoever does end up coming to be the voices of the Raptors, they'll have a tall order ahead of them in trying to fill Chuck Swirsky's shoes. After all, the man has already been immortalized in a Loblaws ad:

You can keep checking in on Chuck Swirsky's thoughts on all things NBA at his blog, Chuck Checks In, which is still being published on the Raptors' site.


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