- "I think it's a reaction to the situation," Raftery said. "You know, I never thought — I'd written stuff down. For example, 'Onions!' — Ian Eagle claims we were doing the (Nets) games together and ... the Nets are playing Orlando. Kevin Edwards and Nets ... it was like a gray year, they were really struggling and Kevin makes a three in the corner to and I said, 'Onions!' I'd never said it before. I don't like raw onions. I like sautéd onions. Crazy. So that just pops.
"So just a way of saying something that comes in your mind. I would say it's family, who you grew up around with. How late you go to bed or early you go to bed, (whom) you hang out in or the characters you're with, they influence you and I think some of those do — maybe not the words themselves, but being an expedient, being succinct and a lot of it is to get the heck out of the play-by-play guy's way. So nothing, no intellectual input, whatsoever. It's just spontaneous reaction."
There is no better story teller, analyst and really human than Bill Raftery. He's my favorite person in the world. Love everything about him. Him openly talking about still staying up late crushing drinks. He just has that big game voice. His obvious love of college hoops. And then there's his calls. They are legendary - lingerie on the deck, with a kiss, man-to-man to start a game and of course Onions. If you're a college hoops fan and never once yelled onions at a TV on a big shot or when you make anything you're not fully embracing Raft.
He's one of the guys I truly fanboyed over when I finally got to meet him:
Felt right that I was holding a beer while talking to him. But back to this story. This is what makes Raft perfect and why everyone agrees he's the best analyst out there. He's real. His 'shtick' is just loving the game and being the guy that sounds like you're sitting at a bar with talking about hoops. He takes a million notes and can break down the x's and o's but he just wants to enjoy a game and gets that through the television. He feels like everyone's 77-year old best friend.
His line about not even liking raw onions makes his call even better. You know why? There's no better call or compliment than Raft hitting you with the Onions! Double order! Sautéed!
The fact it happened so naturally with Ian Eagle on the call makes it even better. Eagle is one of the most, if not the most under appreciated play by play games out there. Love listening to games with him on the call. But him and Raft calling a Nets game together leading to the onions call? That's the story I needed to listen to this morning.
Long live Raft man. There's been no bigger upgrade in the history of the world than going from Billy Packer to Bill Raftery at the Final Four.