David Locke and Sue Bird in a lighter moment during a postgame interview. Jeff Reinking/NBAE/Getty Images
Then: Original Voice of the Storm, 2000-06
Now: New Radio Play-by-Play Broadcaster for the Utah Jazz
As we catch up with members of the Storm family, we turn off the court for a special “Where Are They Now?” Yesterday was a big day for original Voice of the Storm David Locke. The Storm’s play-by-play broadcaster for the first seven seasons of franchise history, Locke was selected to do radio play-by-play for the Utah Jazz, replacing the legendary Hot Rod Hundley. For Locke, who cheered for the Jazz growing up, it is an exciting opportunity.
“It’s one thing to be able to be fortunate enough to get one of these 30 jobs that exist,” Locke said during a press conference introducing him, “but to be able to get the one for the team that was your favorite team when you were a kid is really, really more than I can swallow.”
Adding play-by-play duties to hosting an afternoon radio show on 1320 AM in Salt Lake City adds to a situation Locke describes as idyllic.
“I live in Park City, Utah,” he said. “I ski 90 days a year, many of them with my children. I mountain-bike 30 days a year and I play 30 rounds of golf a year. My life is really good. My wife is fantastic; my children are rock stars.”
Still, Locke certainly misses his time with the Storm. I caught up with him to get some of his favorite Storm memories in classic Locke stream of consciousness fashion.
What is your favorite memory from your time with the Storm?
My favorite Storm memory is Anne Donovan reaching over the press table and giving me a hug with about 12 to 14 seconds left in Game 3 of the championship and saying, ‘We did it.’ It wasn’t really fair, because I still had 14 seconds of broadcast left, which was very difficult at that point. I don’t think there’s any question that would be my highlight.
I’ll have to review the tape to see if you can hear it.
You can hear. You can definitely hear it. That was a very emotional moment.
What else stands out as a memory?
None of them would be on the floor. Sue (Bird) probably doesn’t remember it, but a very long conversation with Sue flying back from Houston sitting next to her on a plane. Just this young, naive, fearful 19-year-old Lauren Jackson in the back of a bus bussing from Portland to Seattle and watching her grow up. I really miss seeing her development right now. I wonder how she is as a person. I don’t care how she is as a player, but as a person.
That second-half run against Sacramento in the Western Conference Finals when Elise Woodward declared, ‘This is a whoopin” would be pretty high on the list. … Any time we beat the Sparks with Lisa Leslie. … Sue Bird falling asleep on top of the LAX parking structure when we got delayed on a flight. That girl can sleep anywhere. That just popped into my head.
I think from the standpoint of franchise, I remember vividly Game 2 of the WNBA Finals, when I looked up in the upper bowl and the last row of a section was full, meaning that section was full and they had to move to the next one. It suddenly dawned on me that we were going to sell out KeyArena for a WNBA game. We had all worked so hard.
Another memory is all of the people on that staff were so insanely, passionately connected. There was no path they wouldn’t venture on to support the product. That was a really neat thing to be a part of.
Wasn’t there some four-overtime game against Washington? That pops into my head. There’s the Bird shot where LJ blocks (Chamique) Holdsclaw and she goes the other way [in OT in 2004, recently voted the best game-winning shot in Storm history]. Stacey Lovelace in Charlotte coming out of literally nowhere – we’d never seen her before in our lifetime. She showed up the day before and hit like six right-baseline jumpers and we got our first win in franchise history.
I mean the fan connection, right? I’m trying to think of specific examples. Simone Edwards and the crowd saying goodbye on the concourse. If I remember correctly, I think I knew I was leaving to become the Sonics announcer at that point, so for me personally I remember that being very emotional and thinking, ‘Wow, this is what I’m leaving and I’ll probably never have this connection again.’ We’re close in Utah – much closer than most people.
I talk about it all the time – Kamila Vodichkova coming back on the floor [in late 2003, after a season-ending injury]. She was embarrassed because she thought she’d let everyone down because she was injured and the crowd brought her to tears with their applause. The overriding thing, which we’ve all talked about a thousand times – it’s probably cliche by this point – is that connection point between Storm fans and the Storm as an entity.