Gary Gerould Leads Double Life with NBA, NHRA


Gary Gerould Leads Double Life with NBA, NHRA

For fans of the NBA’s Sacramento Kings, Gary Gerould is the play-by-play voice on the radio. For racing fans, Gary Gerould is a pit reporter on ESPN2’s coverage of the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series. Two very different sports, one guy.

Gerould, GaryGerould has with the Kings since they came to California in 1985 and has called nearly 2,000 games. He’s been on ESPN since 1990, covering NASCAR, IndyCar, CART and other forms of racing in addition to his current role.  Since the NHRA and NBA seasons overlap in both the spring and fall, Gerould sometimes finds himself travelling from court to track and back again.  How does he keep it straight?

“I tell myself ‘engage the racing brain,’ and ‘engage the basketball brain,’” he said. ”Over a period of time you find shortcuts that help. But by the same token, doing three games in a week, then suddenly you’re at a racetrack, then you’ve got to shift gears a little bit.  I work very hard to stay up to speed on what’s going on with rule changes, driver changes, crew chief changes, so that when I get on site, the seed has been planted.  Having done 80-plus basketball games for 25 years, it’s more a discipline of getting your homework done and updating stats.  You’re with these guys, you travel with them on the plane, and so you have opportunities to ask them about things.”

If Gerould has to miss a Kings game to work a drag racing event, he keeps up by watching ESPN and checking box scores online. And while he’s with the Kings, he reads racing websites on a daily basis. He may miss eight or so games during the regular season, but has the full support of the Kings organization.

“I’ve been so fortunate because right from when I first started with the Kings, I was involved with NBC and I had to have certain latitude because of previous commitments, and they allowed it,” he said. “Over 25 years, they’ve continued to give me that. I greatly appreciate it.”

Naturally, Gerould is often asked if he prefers basketball or racing. “My answer is that I like everything that I do,” he said. “I’m that kind of a person. I want to find enjoyment in what I do and have a passion for it.  Also, when you start to get ground down by an 82-game basketball season, or a 23-weekend race season, you go to the other one, and it recharges you, and gives you a fresh outlook.”

Dave Nagle

As I write this on 11-11-21, it's now 35 years for me at ESPN, the only real job I’ve ever had. I joined merely to help with the upcoming America’s Cup in Australia. I was told it would be for three months at all of $5.50 per hour. I like to say I simply kept showing up. I’ve worked on almost every sport, plus answered viewer calls and letters (people used to write!), given tours, written the company newsletter and once drove NASCAR’s Jeff Gordon to the local airport. My travels have been varied…I’ve been to Martinsville, Darlington, Indy and Super Bowls; the America’s Cup (all 3) in San Diego and College GameDay in the sport’s meccas such as Eugene, Auburn, Lubbock, Stillwater and more; the NBA Finals, Wimbledon (16 times and counting) and the “other Bristol,” the one with a race track in Tennessee. These days, my main areas are tennis, UFC, boxing, network-wide ratings (by month/quarter/year), and corporate communications documents, including fact sheets, chronologies, lists and nearly 35 of the Year in Review press releases. UPDATE EXACTLY ONE YEAR LATER: Today, November 11, 2022, I am retiring from ESPN -- 36 years to the day I began. As I ride off into the sunset – top down and E Street Radio blaring – I do so with so many wonderful memories, proud of my contributions and a heart full of gratitude for the opportunity. 
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