Kevin Harlan (born June 21, 1960) is an American television and radio sports announcer. The son of former Green Bay Packers executive Bob Harlan, he broadcasts NFL and college basketball games on CBS and is a play-by-play announcer for the NBA on TNT. Until 2008, Harlan was the voice of Westwood One Radio's Final Four coverage. In 2010, he began serving as Westwood One's lead announcer for Monday Night Football, calling his first Super Bowl in Super Bowl XLV. He has broadcast 10 consecutive Super Bowls for Westwood One, Super Bowls XLV-LIV. Ten is the most consecutively in radio, and television, network history (Jack Buck broadcast 9 straight.) Harlan also broadcast the CBS HD feed of Super Bowl XXXV in 2001. He also calls the preseason games of his hometown Packers for the team's statewide television network since 2003. In 2017 and 2019, he was voted the National Sportscaster of the Year by his peers. In all, Harlan has broadcast 11 Super Bowls and 5 Final Fours.
Harlan before an NBA game for TNT
|Education||University of Kansas|
|Children||4, including Olivia|
|Parent(s)||Bob Harlan (father)|
|Sports commentary career|
Harlan began broadcasting as a teenager for his alma mater Our Lady of Premontre High School's high school radio station, WGBP-FM, calling play-by-play for the school's boy's basketball, football and ice hockey teams. He was a ball boy with the Green Bay Packers in his teens during the time that his father, Bob Harlan, was a Packers executive in the front office. He had originally pursued attending either the University of Wisconsin–Madison or the University of Notre Dame in pursuit of his communications/mass media degree, but a personal recommendation from broadcaster Gary Bender to his dad Bob led Kevin to instead attend the University of Kansas and its School of Journalism and Mass Communications. Harlan was introduced to the Jayhawks' primary basketball play-by-play announcer at the time, Tom Hedrick, who audited Harlan's zeal for sports broadcasting and immediately considered him a protege in the making. Hedrick gave Harlan a sideline position his freshman year, eventually deeming him as his understudy and fill-in announcer on days where he had other commitments. Harlan graduated in 1982 with a broadcast journalism degree.
In 1982, right out of college, at age 22, he became the TV and radio voice of the NBA's Kansas City Kings (now the Sacramento Kings). He then was a basketball announcer for his alma mater, the University of Kansas, for one year, then went on to call games for the NFL's Kansas City Chiefs from 1985–93 after several years hosting and producing surrounding pre-game and post-game programming while still in college. Harlan also split time with the University of Missouri (1986–89) calling football and basketball games, and worked as the play-by-play voice of the NBA's Minnesota Timberwolves for nine seasons (1989–98). On the network level, Harlan called NFL football for NBC in 1991, college football for ESPN in 1992–93, NFL for Fox from 1994–97, and joined Turner Sports in 1996 to broadcast NBA playoff games (he would begin calling games throughout the entire season in 1997, which he continues to do to this day). He began working for CBS in 1998.
In addition, Harlan has called Jacksonville Jaguars, Chicago Bears, and Green Bay Packers preseason games; boxing for Mike Tyson vs. Buster Mathis Jr. in 1995; basketball games during the now-defunct Goodwill Games, which were owned by Time Warner; college sports on ESPN; and several bowl games during college football seasons. Harlan has also lent his voice on the NBA 2K video game series since 2005.
In 2017, Harlan was voted by his peers National Sportscaster of the Year by the NSMA. He again was voted National Sportscaster of the Year by the NSMA in 2019. He was also named 2019 National Sportscaster of the Year by The Athletic. In September 2019 Harlan was inducted into the Notre Dame Academy High School Hall of Fame (the former Premontre HS he attended in Green Bay, Wisconsin.)
Harlan has a history of injecting humor into situations during games whenever he can, in addition to being able to dramatize even mundane moments not related to the game itself. These include:
May 12, 2008 – Harlan was calling the 2008 Eastern Conference Semifinals featuring the Boston Celtics and the Cleveland Cavaliers, when Cavaliers superstar LeBron James drove to the basket and emphatically dunked on Celtics forward Kevin Garnett. Harlan's call of the play:
Harlan: Garnett comes out on LeBron. Now they switch and here's Pierce again...a Smith screen. Posey will defend...OHHHHHH! LEBRON JAMES WITH NO REGARD FOR HUMAN LIFE!
September 12, 2016 – Harlan was the radio play-by-play man for Westwood One's coverage of the Monday Night Football game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Los Angeles Rams, where a fan ran onto the field. Harlan then proceeded to give a play-by-play of security chasing the man. Deadspin referred to the call as an "All Timer".
"Hey, somebody has run out on the field. Some goofball in a hat and a red shirt. Now he takes off the shirt! He’s running down the middle by the 50! He’s at the 30! He’s bare-chested and banging his chest. Now, he runs the opposite way. He runs to the 50! He runs to the 40! The guy is drunk! But there he goes! The 20 — they’re chasing him, but they’re not going to get him. Waving his arms, bare-chested; Somebody stop that man! [Referring to the security] Oh, they got him, they’re coming from the left — Oh and they tackle him at the 40-yard line! [Pause] Whew, that was the most exciting thing to happen tonight."
January 12, 2018 – Harlan called the NFC Divisional Match-up between the New Orleans Saints and Minnesota Vikings for Westwood One Radio, where Stefon Diggs scored on a 61 yard touchdown pass from Case Keenum as time expired, now known as the Minneapolis Miracle.
It's third down and 10. Keenum is in the gun from his own 39. Four man front, six in the secondary. Shotgun snap. He moves up, he moves up, he throws a long line drive on the near side, leaping to and catch made! It's made by – oh my goodness, it's gonna go in for the touchdown! Grabbed by Diggs! He broke a tackle! 61 yard touchdown throw! THE VIKINGS HAVE WON! THE MINNESOTA VIKINGS HAVE WON!
May 12, 2019 – Harlan called Game 7 of the 2019 NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals with analyst Greg Anthony, where Kawhi Leonard hit a shot at the buzzer that bounced four times before falling in to win the game and advance the Toronto Raptors to the Eastern Conference Finals. Harlan's call of the play:
Harlan: It's off to Leonard, defended by Simmons. Is this the dagger?
[ball bounces four times on the rim, proceeds to go in as buzzer sounds]
Harlan and Anthony: OHHHHHH!
Harlan: GAME! SERIES! TORONTO HAS WON!
Nov 4, 2019 – Harlan was the radio play-by-play for Westwood One's coverage of a Monday Night Football game between the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants where a black cat ran onto the field midway in the second quarter.
"Oh and there cat, a cat black has taken the field. A black cat is running from the 20 to the nearside the 10, from the 39 of Dallas here is a short throw down the middle caught by Engram. Caught at the 35 to the 30, now the cat running the other way and so is Ingram at the 25 near the 24 yard line of the Dallas Cowboys. It's a catch-run of 15. Now the cat is stopped at the 50 ... he's at the eight ... now he is at the five ... he's walking to the three, he's at the two... and the cat is in the CDW Red Zone... now a policeman, a state trooper is on the field- AND THE CAT RUNS IN THE END ZONE! THAT IS A TOUCHDOWN!"
Nov 10, 2019 – The following Sunday, Harlan was the play-by-play announcer for a game between the Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals. With Baltimore up 28–13 against Cincinnati, Ravens quarterback and MVP favorite Lamar Jackson used a spin move to elude several Bengals defenders for a 47-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, putting the game out of reach.
"Here's a second down and 3, Jackson takes it himself. Look at him dart back and forth- OHHHHHH! HE BROKE HIS ANKLES! NOW HE'S GOT AN ENTOURAGE! And he's got a touchdown! HE IS HOUDINI! What a play! 47-yard touchdown run by the magical quarterback Lamar Jackson! WOW!"
Dec 29, 2019 – Harlan was the television play-by-play commentator for the Los Angeles Chargers at the Kansas City Chiefs when he began calling the Miami Dolphins at the New England Patriots game in the Chargers vs Chiefs feed; with a New England loss, the Chiefs would claim the #2 seed in the playoffs and a bye week.
Meanwhile, Miami has first and goal down by four. And they're at the New England four yard line, first and goal. 29 seconds left. Here (in Kansas City) Butker kicks the extra point. And Fitzpatrick throws in the end zone, touchdown Miami! The Dolphins have just scored! Gesicki, the tight end, got a laser in the back of the end zone on a goal-to-go touchdown pass by Miami quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick to take a lead with 24 seconds to go! The extra point coming up for Miami, leading New England 26 to 24. And the crowd now knows it. ... What a throw by Fitzpatrick, what a touchdown run by Williams, on the last weekend of the regular season in the NFL!
Harlan has been married for over 30 years, and he and his wife have four children. Their daughter, Olivia, is a sideline reporter for ESPN and is married to NBA player Sam Dekker, also born in Wisconsin (in Sheboygan).
- "CBS Sports TV Team". Archived from the original on July 29, 2012. Retrieved September 16, 2012.
- Dougherty, Pete (February 18, 2018). "Elite company for Green Bay's Kevin Harlan". Green Bay Press-Gazette. Retrieved February 18, 2018.
- Hiestand, Michael (May 4, 2012). "Announcer Kevin Harlan knows best of NBA and NCAA hoops worlds". USA Today. Retrieved September 16, 2012.
- "NBA on TNT 05-06". TNT. Archived from the original on February 3, 2014. Retrieved September 16, 2012.
- "Lebron James "Has No Regard For Human Life!"". Awful Announcing. 2008-05-12. Retrieved 2019-11-05.
- Burke, Timothy. "Kevin Harlan's Play-By-Play Radio Call Of The MNF Idiot On The Field Is An All-Timer". deadspin.com. Retrieved October 17, 2017.
- "Listen to Kevin Harlan's amazing call of black cat running on field during Cowboys-Giants". Touchdown Wire. USA Today Sports. 2019-11-05. Retrieved 2020-02-08.
- Madu, Zito (2019-11-12). "The 3 victims of Lamar Jackson's spin move I feel most sorry for". SBNation.com. Retrieved 2020-02-08.
- "Kevin Harlan calls the Chiefs/Chargers and Patriots/Dolphins game at the same time!". YouTube. 2019-12-29. Retrieved 2020-01-20.
- "Olivia Harlan Bio". Atlanta Hawks. Retrieved November 19, 2017.
| Monday Night Football national radio play-by-play announcer