The end of the Neil Funk era is upon us.
Love him or hate him, his voice in some shape or form has been a staple of Bulls basketball since 1991. The 73-year-old announced his retirement before the beginning of the season. We now know who will replace him.
Amin is from the Chicago area. He has called a few games for the Bulls already because Funk has been on a reduced game schedule. He has a good vibe with Stacey King; obviously it’s going to be different than King constantly trying to teach Funk how to be a hip youngster and the old man, spazzy son vibe those two had in place. Chicago Bulls COO Michael Reinsdorf on the hire per Bulls.com:
“We knew replacing Neil would not be an easy task, but as we got to know Adam over the last two seasons and became even more familiar with his work, he rose to become our top choice. Adam knows our fans because he grew up a Bulls fan. That was important to us. We wanted to find someone who not only had the talent, but who also understood our history and the role the Bulls play in the lives of our city and our fans. When he and Stacey worked together, we received so much positive feedback that I know our fans are going to really enjoy the work of this new broadcast duo. Adam brings strong credentials to this role, as well as an energy, charisma and innate storytelling ability that help him immediately connect with his audience whether he’s behind a microphone, at an event or on social media. He’s a perfect fit as our new TV play-by-play announcer to call the next generation of Bulls games, and we’re thrilled that he’s joining the Bulls family.”
In an interview, Amin acknowledged to the Chicago Tribune (the full interview is fantastic) that he isn’t out there to replace Neil, rather to succeed a living legend:
I’m glad I came in with experience in the league because that quelled a lot of my fear. Even after being on national TV for a big chunk of time, I don’t think I’d ever been as nervous as I was when I did the first local Bulls broadcast. I’m glad I came in with a real base knowledge of the current NBA, and I think that helped (me) earn some trust from Stacey. The crew was so professional. The combination of that and Stacey took the pressure away pretty quickly. I didn’t feel like I was trying to replace Neil. I still don’t. That is 100% the wrong word. It’s “succeed.”
I grew up on Neil. Jim Durham was my favorite radio play-by-play guy. I have cassette tapes of Jim Durham calling the ’06 NBA Finals. But Neil was one of the voices of my childhood, when I was sitting in the car with my dad.
Amin is a consummate professional and has basically called every sport under the sun. I wish Neil Funk well in retirement and applaud the Bulls for picking a quality replacement in Amin.
An interesting note on his current setup with the Bulls is that Amin is also employed to be calling MLB and NFL games with FOX Sports, meaning during Bulls season he won’t call every single Bulls game. So it’s still to be determined who that fill-in voice would be.