To celebrate the 100th episode of the Bleav in Wizards podcast, I wanted to have a great guest that people don’t hear from regularly. Steve Buckhantz, who spent 23 years as the play-by-play announcer for the Wizards, was nice enough to join me.
Like many fans, I was used to hearing Buckhantz talk about the Wizards for so long that it almost feels weird to not regularly hear his thoughts on the team. With the podcast he does with his former broadcast partner Phil Chenier, On the Road with Buck and Phil, on hiatus, this seemed like a great opportunity to have him weigh on this year’s team.
Buckhantz started as a Bullets/Wizards fan long before he called games for the team. Despite that, he didn’t necessarily end on the best terms with the organization, I was curious to hear about his relationship with the Wizards as a team these days.
“I see every game. I go through the frustrations that the players do, that the broadcasters do, that the management does,” said Buckhantz.
Later in the episode, Buckhantz shared that he has not seen the team play in person since being let go, due to the nature of his departure and the role Zach and Ted Leonsis played in that situation.
As someone who has seen many iterations of this team over the past few decades, I wanted to hear his thoughts on the current team and the trades Tommy Sheppard made at the trade deadline.
“It has the makings of something good because they got a top-line player,” Buckhantz said. “They got a guy who’s a really good player when he’s healthy in Porzingis. But he’s played only 34 games this year, 43 last year, he played 57 the year before that. So he’s never played a full season. In his first season with the Knicks, he played 72 games. But obviously, he was very productive those years.”
Being around the players so closely for all those years, Buckhantz was able to shed some light on team dynamics, team bonding, and player leadership. He told several great stories about interacting with players and how his relationship with them changed over the years. I don’t think I could do them justice here by writing up a small snippet so make sure to check out the full episode.
Buckhantz weighed in on several other relevant Wizards-related topics like the Bradley Beal situation and any parallels between Gilbert Arenas getting a large contract coming off major surgery. For that part of the conversations, as well as some anecdotes about which former players he was closest to, you’ll definitely want to listen to the whole episode.
Additionally, Vinny Hardy, the host of Bleav in Kentucky, joined the show to talk about Kentucky’s freshman guard TyTy Washington and his potential fit for the Wizards.