January 09, 2009
All good superheroes must have an origin story. Bruce Wayne's parents were murdered, and he vowed to use his money and ability to prevent similar crimes from happening. Peter Parker was bit by a radioactive spider and learned that "with great power comes great responsibility." Superman came out of the sky and was immediately the most powerful person on Earth. (Superman's origin story, like Superman, sucks.)
So it is with Bill Raftery. Raftery's genius -- which, in some corners of the basketball-watching populace, still goes underappreciated -- did not spring from the ether into existence. It is formed over a long period of time, in which spontaneous eruptions lead to classic analytical outbursts. How do I know this? Ian Eagle, Raftery's CBS broadcast partner, spilled the beans on Dan Levy's On The DL podcast:
“I remember it vividly. It was my first year and the Nets were playing a game down in Miami. And Kevin Edwards hit a big three from the corner to give the Nets a one-point lead late in the game. I had the call: ‘Edwards from the corner, three is GOOD.’ And Raf goes, ‘OOOOH, ONIONS!!!!’
And I turn to him, and I knew Raf’s Raf-to-English translation like the back of my hand. I was able to provide listeners with the track that they needed to follow along. But I had no idea what he was talking about. So I turn to him during the break and say, ‘Bill, Raf, I don’t get that, what is that? Onions? What, it was so good that you cried?’ He said, ‘Hey Bird (Raf’s nickname for Eagle) ... BIG BALLS.’ And that was it. That’s when ONIONS was born.”
You can listen to the clip here. There's plenty more about Raftery to be had (not least of which is that Bill maintains a tuft of blindingly white hair on his chest). Eagle also does a pretty killer Raftery impression himself. Worth hearing.
Do I like Bill Raftery too much? Probably. But he's our blog's namesake. It sort of comes with the territory.