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Best Sports Commentator from the Valley Phoenix 2008 - TNT's Doug Collins

We wish he were the new coach of the Suns, but let's give Terry Porter a chance. Doug Collins has head-coaching experience out the you-know-what, having led a young Michael Jordan with the Chicago Bulls and an old Michael Jordan with the Washington Wizards. He also coached the Detroit Pistons, played on the 1972 U.S. Olympic team, was a first-round draft pick of the Philadelphia 76ers out of Illinois State, took (along with Julius Irving) the Sixers to the NBA Finals against Bill Walton's winning Portland Trail Blazers in 1977, was a four-time NBA All-Star, and is the best basketball announcer in sports. After a stint with NBC earlier in his career, the Valley resident has been with TNT for four years doing color commentary. Collins is known for his insight into the game and for his understated sense of humor.

We really thought he would be named the Suns' new coach, since he often sat beside Steve Kerr during TNT telecasts, before Kerr abandoned the microphone to take on the GM reins for our NBA franchise. The two are pals. During the off-season, Collins was also rumored to be up for the Chicago Bulls coaching job. But when the Suns job went to another Kerr buddy, Porter, and the Bulls job went to Suns assistant GM Vinny Del Negro (Collins reportedly took himself out of the running), we were glad that we'd continue to see him on game broadcasts.

Unlike Walton, who bested him in that championship series back in the '70s, Collins is a reasoned broadcaster who never fawns over star players, much less jabber just for the sake of jabbering. Along with fellow TNTer Charles Barkley, he was righteously critical of the Suns' lack of defense during the Mike D'Antoni era. As a Valley resident, he spoke from the vantage point of fan as well as sports analyst. And analyst-supreme Collins has always been. The insight into the game he's gained through years of coaching and playing alongside the best nabbed him the coveted job of Olympic basketball coverage this year. That and a calm, avuncular style that makes the beer and popcorn go down all the more smoothly.

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