ESPN/ABC play-by-play man Mike Breen has become something of a June institution in households across the country, lending his signature “Bang!” call to almost two decades’ worth of iconic moments.
For that reason, the basketball world expressed sadness when the entirety of Breen’s home on Long Island was destroyed by a fire last September.
Appearing on South Beach Sessions with Dan Le Batard Friday during the NBA Finals, Breen offered a touching story about one of the few items able to be salvaged from the fire: a jersey autographed by Hall of Fame guard Kobe Bryant.
“I’m not a big memorabilia guy. I never really ask for autographs,” Breen began. “One year the NBA had this situation where they let players put their nicknames on the back of their jersey.”
"[ESPN] gave us [nickname] jerseys… Mine was 'The Gray Mamba'… and [Kobe Bryant] signed the jersey ‘From one Mamba to another’”— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) June 10, 2023
Mike Breen tells the story of his sentimental autographed jersey that was salvaged from a house fire
Breen is presumably referring to a brief experiment undertaken by the league in 2014.
“ESPN, when they were doing those games, they gave us jerseys. Jeff Van Gundy had ‘The Notorious JVG.’ Mine was ‘The Gray Mamba,’ obviously because of my hair,” Breen said. “So I’m thinking, ‘You know what? I’m gonna get Kobe to sign that.’ And he signed the jersey, ‘From one Mamba to another.’”
When Breen found out what had happened to his home, the signed jersey immediately jumped to mind. Fortunately, its story had a happy ending.
“That was one of the first things I thought of when I was thinking, ‘What’d we lose?’” Breen said. “And my wife found that, and that’s being restored as we speak.”