CBS Sports Network Announcer Chris Lewis on the Joy of the Game

Article by Kimber Patterson

Photography by Annie Densley, Jonni Armani & Provided

Originally published in Boise Lifestyle

Fans are salivating to get back to stadium sports.  What can we expect for 2021? 

I’m one of those fans who can’t wait to safely have stadium sports back. The vaccine rollout has been fast, and hopefully if the pace continues, we can be much closer to full capacity by the fall sports season. Everyone in the sports industry would be better off if that’s the case. But if the past 13 months have taught me anything, it’s to never assume and take nothing for granted.

What have been your favorite sports moments so far in 2021?

As a fan from Philadelphia, I’m pretty excited about how 2021 has gone for my Philadelphia 76ers. Watching Joel Embiid and the team play at this level has been fun. I’m a huge basketball fan, so the men’s and women’s NCAA Tournament was the biggest highlight.  Although it wasn’t a normal tournament in terms of fans and locations, the product itself felt fantastic. Getting to watch the entire thing this year, including that awesome UCLA-Gonzaga game, was a joyous reminder of what we were missing in 2020.

How do you prepare for new seasons?

Research. No matter the sport, there are a lot of changes from one season to the next. Player movement in college and pro sports means rosters are constantly evolving. Ensuring I’m up to date with names, numbers, information, and storylines is key, whether it’s in-season or out.  It’s also important to watch and listen to my old broadcasts and the broadcasts of other people. That always shows me how I can improve.

What are you most looking forward to in sports in 2021?

I’m looking forward to seeing the attendance at sports games rise as long as it’s safe. There’s nothing cooler than a great moment in a close sports game and being part of fan reactions. When Luka hit that stepback game winner against the Clippers in the NBA Bubble last year, I imagine how a packed arena would’ve reacted to something like that. I’m also looking forward to the Olympics and following the great stories that emerge.

What are some of your favorite things about living in Boise?  

A laid-back friendliness shines through in Idaho. I was never a big outdoors person before coming to Boise. My girlfriend and her family have brought me on more camping trips than I ever expected. Boise is a great biking city, and most of my exercise has come from riding my bike on the greenbelt.  Boise Fry Company and Bacon are two places I always take friends and family who are in town for a visit.

Do you have any little-known talents or hobbies?

One of my favorite things to do is cook. My mom always made great food and I didn’t want to lose out on that living on my own. Whether it’s making my own pasta or broth for soups and gumbo, or replicating the oxtail dish from my uncle’s Jamaican restaurant, I try to get my MasterChef on. I also really enjoy playing basketball, and I’m always looking to find games to play in.

What's your best and worst broadcasting story?

My favorite moment was the 2018 Mountain West championship for women’s basketball, where Broncos forward A'Shanti Coleman made a game-winning buzzer beater. Calling a moment like that for a title is a dream for an announcer. My worst moment came the following year at the same event, where I lost my voice during the championship game and sounded unrecognizable. I still haven’t listened back to that game.

What led you to a career in broadcasting?

My parents sent me and my brother to basketball camps every summer, and once there was a sports broadcasting camp.  That week was a blast and I decided to become a sports announcer. Syracuse University produced a lot of excellent sports broadcasters, so it became my dream school. Getting involved in student media organizations sharpened my skills and taught me what it took to succeed.

Any advice to aspiring sports announcers?

The best announcers genuinely enjoy the entire process -  from prep and travel to the game itself. Even with a mask on you can see and hear a smile. The most important part of this job is the most important part of any other area of life. Treat people kindly and be a pleasant person to be around.

"I’m a fan who can’t wait to safely have stadium sports back."

"There’s nothing like a great moment in a close game."

"Treat people kindly and be a pleasant person to be around."

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