xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement
Advertisement

Or maybe it's more like hate-love. He was never the fun guy, the enthusiasm guy like Dick Vitale or Bill Raftery, so Billy Packer didn't engender much affection from college basketball fans. So now that he's giving up college basketball commentary, many certainly are ready to celebrate as if their team just got a No. 3 seed in a weak regional.

For example, Barry Horn of The Dallas Morning News wrote: "As the years passed ... he grew overbearing, arrogant, condescending, dismissive and petulant. There is only so much anyone can take from a know-it-all uncle who humorlessly preaches he is the smartest man in the room. Most viewers have long had their fill of Packer."

Advertisement

From Diane Pucin of the Los Angeles Times: "Billy Packer had become old-school -- and not in the good way of paying attention to detail or studying hard before he would go on the air, but in the way of a crotchety old guy who chases neighborhood kids out of the yard. ... What stood out about Packer over the last few years was inability to project joy. He had one of the most recognizable voices in NCAA tournament history but never sounded as if he was having fun."

Michael Wilbon of The Washington Post noted Packer's flaws, but ultimately came down on the side of appreciating his body of work: "Nobody has been as good at explaining and analyzing a college basketball game. .. His very presence at a game lifted its importance and made it a bigger event than if someone else was calling it."

Over the years, I have heard from Maryland fans who sounded convinced that Packer had an anti-Terps bias, though I suspect you could probably find fans of plenty of teams just as convinced that Packer hated their schools, too. What Packer needed was what he had back in the days when he was paired with Al McGuire: Someone whose joie de vivre -- especially joie de hoops -- would balance Packer's informed, though dry analysis, which could, yes, devolve into the style of "a know-it-all uncle." You know, it might not have been so bad if CBS had decided to team Packer with his replacement, Clark Kellogg.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Photo by Getty Images

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement