Name: Matt Hurwitz
City: San Francisco
Position: Golden State Warriors public address announcer
J.: What’s this season been like for you, with the Warriors finishing the regular season with a 67-15 record — sixth best in NBA history — and then sweeping the New Orleans Pelicans in the first round?
Matt Hurwitz: Right now, it’s very exciting. I can only imagine how it will be — knock on wood — getting past the second round.
How do you view your job as P.A. announcer?
MH: I’m not a cheerleader. But I am human. I do get emotionally involved and share the excitement. And this year, I have found myself getting more animated. I share that kind of energy the fans share. I do have to focus and have to be right on top of the action. I’m a fan. I was raised a fan of the Warriors. My energy has definitely risen this season because of what’s going on.
Since you started this job 14 years ago, have you ever missed a game because of Jewish holiday?
MH: Not with the Warriors. For a long time, I had a 9-to-5 job in public relations and I would definitely take off for the holidays when they came up. But if a holiday comes up with the Warriors, I will be at the basketball game.
Have you ever called in sick?
MH: No. I show up sick. It’s usually with a cold or flu, but I haven’t had anything worse. The last time I missed a game was when my wife went into labor [with their now 4-year-old son Eli]. I do give her a hard time about it. He wasn’t born until 3 in the morning, so I could have made the game.
Tell us about your Jewish upbringing.
MH: I’ve been a Jew all my life (laughter). Reform. Sunday school. Bar mitzvah. Major holidays. Lox and cream cheese. That was the best. The worst was chopped liver and onions. My mother’s cooking was an extension of her mom’s cooking. Her brisket recipe was definitely passed on from her mother, which was great.
Has your last name ever solicited questions about being Jewish?
MH: No, but some people have said “Horwitz” or “Horowitz.” I remember going into a restaurant and someone thought I was related to [consumer advocate] David Horowitz. This person wouldn’t let up. There was a famous furniture store in New Orleans owned by a Hurwitz and people thought I was related. I’m not.
Both of the Warriors’ owners, Joe Lacob and Peter Guber, are Jewish. Do you talk to them much?
MH: Not really. I do some fan events, community events, and see them working. I don’t really actively seek them out just to talk. I have my job to do and they’re meeting people or enjoying the game. I keep it professional at all times. They definitely have put a lot of time and effort and passion into getting this team where it is. As someone who is a fan, I appreciate that.
Can you attend games at other venues and not be critical of the P.A. announcer?
MH: No, I can’t. Whenever I go places around the league, I’m there as a fan but I definitely have a critical ear. It’s not just about the announcer, but the entire game experience. I have a critical eye and ear and take mental notes. Obviously, I would never copy or imitate. Everything you do has to be natural.
What is the best part of your job?
MH: Sitting in the front row. I get to see the best athletes in basketball play the game at the highest level. It’s pretty fun. I think the excitement and the enthusiasm comes across in the way I call the game. Our role is to effectively communicate what’s happening on the court. Every basket that’s being scored, every substitution, every foul. My approach is that if someone at the game is visually impaired, what can I do to tell them what’s going on so they will not miss anything?
With the Warriors in the playoffs, are friends and relatives swamping you with ticket requests?
MH: Thankfully, no. The ones reaching out are those who are core friends who would come out to regular season games.
Do you have a Warriors jersey with your name on the back?
MH: I do not. When my son has his bar mitzvah in nine years, I have to get Warriors yarmulkes for everybody. Hopefully I’ll still be with the team.
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