Kyle Draper Q&A: Get to know Kings' new Pre- and Postgame host originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
The Kings pulled off a coup when they landed Mark Jones to take over play-by-play duties. They continued their strong offseason off the court Monday when they announced the addition of Kyle Draper to the broadcast team.
Draper, who has served as a studio host and part-time play-by-play announcer for the Boston Celtics for the last 11 seasons, is bringing his talents to Sacramento to support Jones when he’s away coving nationally televised games and he will also step in as the new Kings studio host for Pre- and Postgame on NBC Sports California.
In his dual role, Draper will work alongside former King and current analyst Doug Christie on the game call for selective games and will be a constant on game day festivities.
The newest addition to the team sat down with NBC Sports California for a Q&A to explain why Sacramento was the right move, his style of broadcasting and the loss of legendary broadcaster Tommy Heinsohn in Boston.
Q: You’re making a big move here. People in Boston know you well, you’ve been around that scene for a long time. What is it about this opportunity that’s got you excited and makes you basically want to move across the country, uproot your family and come to Sacramento?
KD: You have a family, you know how difficult these decisions are. So this was a tough decision for my family and I. But Northern California, you look at the weather, you look at the people -- it’s great. But more for me, it’s the opportunity, it’s a new challenge. It's a challenge to expand my horizons even deeper into play-by-play announcing and it’s something that’s been sort of a goal of mine, especially over the last few years.
When you think about the NBA, to me, it’s the greatest league in the world and to be able to work for a team? In the greatest league in the world? It’s sort of a no-brainer. The Sacramento Kings have been great so far in my dealing with them. Obviously you have one of the best arenas out there in the entire NBA in the Golden 1 Center.
It’s sort of the next step, I guess, the evolution of my career. Especially now, at 45-years-old, with a couple of young kids, In said to my wife, “Let's do it,” Why not now? I have some family in the Sacramento area and my wife has sisters in California. It just seemed like the right time to be making this move.
Q: Mark Jones is going to continue to call games for ESPN, I’m not sure how many that will be. And you’re going to step into his shoes and call games alongside Doug Christie. What was it like getting to meet Doug and going through that process like? This broadcasting team is deep and really talented with you, Mark and Doug.
KD: It’s like the big three, right? It’s funny, when I went through the audition process, I had never met Doug Christie, I had never spoken to him before. As soon as we started the audition, as soon as we started calling the game, it just felt like two guys watching basketball together, two guys with a great passion for basketball. I remember thinking, after we finished the audition, it felt like we were live there, right at the game. It was that exciting and we were that comfortable.
I’m excited to work with Doug, because think about it, we only worked together one time and it was during that audition. Once we get our reps together, get familiar and get even more chemistry, I think it’s going to be a great tandem.
Q: Everyone has their own style of calling games. Doug is exuberant and there are going to be moments when you have to reach over and restrain him and other times when you just let him go. What is your style?
KD: I’m a fan of basketball. I’m a lifelong NBA fan and so the excitement, the energy, that’s the way I bring it. I don’t care if it’s January and we’re down against Orlando or if it’s February and we’re not playing a good team. Every game to me is important and so I think the fans and viewers will feel that from me.
One thing people have told me throughout my career is, “Kyle, you always look like you’re having fun.” That’s because most of the time, I am. So that’s what I’ll be bringing to the table when I join the Sacramento Kings.
Q: I know you guys just went through a tough time in Boston with the passing of Tommy Heinsohn. What did Tommy Heinsohn mean to you and your career in Boston?
KD: It’s been a tough week and it still stings. I remember coming to Boston and the first ever time working with Tommy. We’re talking about a larger than life figure here. A guy that’s won 10 titles. A guy that’s been a part of the Celtics organization pretty much for 60 years.
I grew up in Philly, so I didn’t like the Celtics, I didn’t like Tommy Heinsohn, but I remember when I first met him he asked me my name and everyone introduced me, “Tommy, this is Kyle Draper.” He said, “Kyle Draper, I’m going to call you Drapes from here on out.” And this was the first time I met him. I’ll tell you what, Tommy is such a legend that the name Drapes stuck with me my entire 11 year tenure here in Boston. He helped birth who I am in Boston, really.
Q: What is the one thing that you want Kings fans to know about you and what you’re going to bring to the telecast every time?
KD: I’ve just got a message for Kings fans -- buckle up, right? It’s going to be an exciting year. It’s going to be fun. You’re going to be entertained.
I don’t take myself too seriously. If you guys want to make in fun of me or if Doug wants to clown me, it’s okay, because I’m going to give it right back to you. My thing for Kings fans is buckle up, we’re going to have a great ride, we’re going to have fun and at the end of the day, we’re talking Kings basketball.