George Blaha (born March 29, 1945 in Detroit, Michigan) has been the radio and television play-by-play voice of the Detroit Pistons since the 1976–77 NBA season. He currently is the lead the play-by-play man on Fox Sports Detroit, but does radio play-by-play instead during nationally televised games in place of the Pistons' regular radio play-by-play man Mark Champion.
Raised in Marshalltown, Iowa and Grayling, Michigan, Blaha attended the University of Notre Dame and received a Master of Business Administration from the University of Michigan. Before the 1976–1977 season, he succeeded Paul Carey on WJR's radio broadcast of the Pistons, and announced his first NBA game from Cobo Arena on October 23, 1976, teaming with Tom Hemingway. Blaha has missed only three games since 1976 due to illness. He has had a variety of color analysts including former Detroit Pistons players Dave Bing, Vinnie Johnson, Kelly Tripucka, Bill Laimbeer, Rick Mahorn, and current partner Greg Kelser. He has almost always used the Pistons' first names when describing the action on the court. He also uses players' knicknames often, such as members of the 1988-1989 and 1989-1990 'Bad Boys' teams: "The Worm" for Dennis Rodman and "The Microwave" for Vinnie Johnson, or for current Pistons players: "The Answer" for Allen Iverson. He also often identifies his TV partner Greg Kelser as "Special K", his knickname when he was a player. In 2002, Blaha was the recipient of the prestigious Ty Tyson Award for Excellence in Sports Broadcasting, awarded by the Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association. In 2008, Blaha was elected to the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame. Ex-Lions Moore, Murray among Michigan Sports Hall of Fame inductees.
In addition to Pistons games, Blaha is currently the radio voice of the Michigan State University's football team. He was the voice of Michigan State University Men's basketball team during the 2000-2001 season. He also does Detroit area TV and radio commercials for several companies.
One of Blaha's trademarks is the use of alliteration:
- "Lays it up, lays it in!"
- "Fires, fills it!"
- "Guns, got it!"
- "Scoops it, scores it!"
- "Gives it up, gets it back"
- "Measures, and makes!"
- "He hoists, and hits!"
- "Rip-down rebound!"
- "That was a stick-back slam supreme!"
During one particular game, Isiah Thomas was visibly fouled repeatedly on the same play with no call from the three referees. George said erroneously, "Six pairs of eyes and no one can see anything!".
Other sayings commonly heard during Pistons play-by-play include:
- "No Free Chili"
- "With the feed!"
- "With the bunny!"
- "Off the heel!"
- "Off the iron!"
- "With the long deuce!"
- "With the show and go!"
- "He throws up a rainbow gun!"
- "He throws up a long gun!"
- "The glasser goes!"
- "Sticks it!"
- "He triples from way downtown!"
- "Off the high glass!"
- "Count that baby and a foul!"
- "Don't look now, but..." (indicating a comeback or a significant run, i.e. "Don't look now, but the Pistons are within two!")
- "With the slam-tap supreme!"
- "Three point gunning... it goes!"
- "In and out... and back in again!"
- "Nothing but sweet, sweet string music!" (referring to the "swish" of the net)
- "Two and forty-three to go." (indicating 2:43 on the clock)
- "Five and a half left in the half." (indicating 5:30 left in the second quarter)
- "He hits it!" (or an exaggerated "Heeee hits it!")
- "Tough luck miss!" (indicating a shot that has gone halfway down and popped out)
- "Splits the pair..." (indicating the shooter has made one out of two free throws)
- "Charity stripe..." (referring to the free throw line)
- "Welcome to another exciting night of NBA Basketball! I'm George Blaha alongside my partner Special K Gregory Kelser..."
- "Welcome to another exciting night of NBA Basketball! I'm George Blaha alongside my partner, Pistons legend Bill Laimbeer..." (when Laimbeer did color commentary)
- "And he air-mails it..." (referring to the ball missing the net completely)
- "Got it! Got it! Got it!" (when a potentially game changing shot goes in, usually a three pointer)
- "It rattled and it went." (a made shot with the help of the rim)