We sat down with Play-By-Play Announcer of the Stockton Kings, Dave “Deuce” Mason.
Walk us through a typical day in the life of Dave “Deuce” Mason.
It’s hard to call any day “typical” because it depends on the time of the year. I work for Sacramento Kings as a radio broadcaster and I do play-by-play for Stockton Kings, so during NBA season and G-League season, there’s so much crossover.
During the Kings season, I’m getting ready for every [radio] broadcast. I produce each and every game, home and on the road. So that means we’re coming up with content for the pregame, postgame, and halftime shows and working with our talent to make sure we have the best broadcast possible.
It’s a lot of research. You have to dig up numbers, come up with storylines about the games, look at the opponents. We also book engineers in each NBA city to make sure we have a broadcast, and working with our Partnerships team to come up with unique ideas for some of them to enhance their radio content. So, I wear a lot of hats.
Did you always know you wanted to go into broadcasting? If so, who were your inspirations growing up?
I knew I wanted to get into this at a very young age. I was a 12-year-old taping myself doing play-by-plays. I love sports and I knew I wasn’t going to be able to play it at a high level. I grew up in Sacramento and the Kings were my favorite team. So, I had dreams of hosting a sports radio show and working for the Kings, and I did both those things.
I worked at my favorite radio station for many years and then I’ve been working for the Kings for almost seven seasons. So, it’s just a dream come true for me.
Last year I took the big step and that was getting the opportunity to call play-by-play for the Stockton Kings, and I was like, “wow.” I still remember being a little kid, having a tape recorder out, watching Kings games and practicing announcing in my room. I’d get mad at my sister or my mom when they would come in and I would say, “I’m trying to call the game here!” And then here I am working for Sacramento Kings and Stockton Kings and it’s pretty incredible.
Did you have inspirations growing up? People you looked up to in the broadcasting world?
I really looked up to Grant Napear and “G-Man”. Again, I was obsessed with the Kings, and this was the early 2000s. The Kings were so good at the time and Grant and G-Man [Gary Gerould] were just so good at what they did. And now I get to work with these guys every day.
I think that’s the coolest part about my job. The guys that I looked up to in broadcasting, I now consider friends. And then you have guys like Doug Christie, who I was obsessed with as a kid, and now he’s a friend of mine. It’s so weird that’s where life has taken me.
Other inspirations in the broadcast world – I love Kevin Harlan. He’s an NBA on TNT voice. He brings a big game feel to every game. He could be announcing a meaningless game in November and it’s going to feel like it’s an important game.
That’s my approach when I call a G-League game. I prep my ass off looking up each player and looking for nuggets so that when it’s game time, I’m ready to go.
What would you say is the most challenging part about being a play-by-play announcer for the G-League?
Some of these G-League players are not as well-known. I know NBA players because I watch NBA games all the time. But, you’ll get a guy from a Division II school that you’ve never heard of, and you go search them online and there’s nothing.
I think that’s where you have to get creative and reach out to people and talk to other teams. Because you never know what can happen. Even if the guy plays for 5 minutes a night and he’s not a big-time player on the team, someone could get hurt and all of the sudden he’s playing.
Another challenge is that you never know what the starting lineups are going to be. Guys get called up all the time and things change. So, you have to roll with the punches. But that’s also what makes it so fun.
Do you have any particular game or moment that stands out to you as your favorite?
Opening night for me was very special because it was the first game in Stockton. You could just sense that the community was super behind the team. They were excited to have basketball in the area. And for me, it was my first opportunity to do play-by-play.
There was this kind of good nervous energy. It was a sold-out crowd of 5,000 people there and they were so into the game. They ended up losing by 30, but it didn’t matter because the fans were just so excited to be there.
The other game that jumps out to me was a playoff game they had against the Memphis Hustle. They battled so hard and that energy was crazy too. And that was my first playoff game and it was a close game. It came down to the end. To call games like that, especially in the playoffs, was a dream of mine.
Is your broadcasting voice something that came naturally or did you have to practice?
There are people in the industry who have a “broadcaster voice”. I guess I have one? I was a shy kid growing up. I didn’t talk to people until like fifth grade. I don’t know what got into me, but I just somehow gained the confidence. Suddenly, I was like, “I’m not scared to talk in front of people.” My perspective is that it doesn’t matter if there’s a hundred people or thousands of people. It doesn’t matter if I mess up a sentence. Just start over — it’s not a big deal.
If anything, I try to make it a point to annunciate. There’s a little bit of work that goes into it but it also kind of comes naturally I guess. I will say this. I have these old recordings from when I was first on the radio when I was 18 – so like 13 years ago – and I listen to them and cringe. I mean, I can’t believe it was me. At the time I thought I was doing great.
If I could give one piece of advice to anyone trying to get into broadcasting, it would be that you have got to be yourself. I think I was trying to be a radio person or trying to be a broadcaster. I would talk so seriously with this stereotypical broadcasting voice. But no, you just have to be yourself.
Some people say Kevin Harlan gets too excited at times and I disagree. I don’t care who the team is, I’m a basketball fan. So, if there’s an amazing play, I’m going to get excited. I’m not going to jump up and go crazy, but I’m going to be excited. I think if you can be your authentic self and be real and genuine in the way you treat people, you’ll be successful.
You’re coming up on three and a half years of the Deuce and Mo Podcast. Can you talk a little bit about what the podcast means to you and your goals for the future of the podcast?
I want to be able to do a lot of different things in my life. I don’t want to be labeled as “just a play-by-play guy”. I want to be able to do play-by-play. I want to be able to TV, radio – I’ll do it all.
The podcast is special because after the radio show ended, we wanted to keep putting out content. Two weeks later, we came out swinging with the podcast and it’s been so much fun. It’s changed over time. We used to do it every single day. Now, we do it once a week. I think it’s a great opportunity for me to talk about other sports with Morgan. And we have great chemistry.
Whether it’s calling games or talking sports on the radio or the podcast, I just want to be in the sports world and have fun. I don’t want to ever feel like I’m working.
Is there anyone that you haven’t interviewed yet who you would love to sit down with?
I would love to sit down with Bill Russell. He went through so much as a player and had so much success not only on the court but off the floor. I would love to talk to him and hear old stories from his Celtics days and his perspective on where the game is at today.
How did you end up with the nickname “Deuce?”
I got an internship at a radio station when I was 16 and there was another Dave that worked there at the time. So, one of the show hosts was just like “Hey, you’re the other Dave, I’ll call you Deuce.”
At that time, I was like, “whatever.” But, then it just stuck. So, all my high-school friends call me Dave, but everyone I’ve known since high school calls me Deuce.
I stuck with it because everyone else did. I guess “Deuce Mason” sounds unique as opposed to Dave Mason.