September 29, 2022

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Sports Really Satisfies

Chris Miller to replaces Justin Kutcher as Wizards’ play-by-play voice

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Longtime Washington Wizards reporter Chris Miller will replace Justin Kutcher as the Wizards’ play-by-play voice next season, NBC Sports Washington announced Friday.

Miller, 48, has served as a Wizards analyst, sideline reporter and pre- and postgame show host since joining the network in 2007. He was a finalist for the play-by-play position that went to Kutcher in 2019 after the network opted not to renew the contract of beloved broadcaster Steve Buckhantz, who called Bullets and Wizards games for 22 years.

“I used to believe my dream was impossible, but now it’s reality and I couldn’t be more honored and excited,” Miller said in a statement. “There are many people responsible for getting me to this point, but my family deserves a special thanks for being with me on this 25-year journey. I look forward to seeing the fans next season and can’t wait for tip-off.”

As Kutcher’s backup last season, Miller, who also hosts the Wizards’ “Off the Bench” podcast, handled play-by-play duties for a handful of games. Drew Gooden, who served as the primary analyst alongside Kutcher for each of the last three seasons, is expected to return in the same role.

“Chris is a tremendously experienced professional and a Wizards authority whose knowledge and passion for the team, league and sport has earned the respect of fans, colleagues and the basketball community,” Jackie Bradford, NBC Sports Washington’s president and general manager, said in a statement. “This is a well-earned opportunity for Chris to take an even larger role and make an even greater impact on our Wizards coverage. We look forward to the great experience he’ll bring to fans every game day.”

Earlier Friday, Kutcher announced he was leaving the network to pursue other opportunities.

“I want to thank NBCSW, the Wizards organization, and all of the DC fans for welcoming me into your homes,” he wrote. “You’ve got a new fan for life, and hope our paths will cross again.”

Kutcher was hired by former NBC Sports Washington GM Damon Phillips, who faced criticism from the fan base for his decision to not bring back Buckhantz for a 23rd season. After beating out roughly a dozen other candidates for the job, Kutcher, who came to NBCSW from Fox Sports, acknowledged the challenge of following in a legend’s footsteps.

“If it were my team and I had this allegiance to a broadcaster for over 20 years, change is tough,” Kutcher said at the time. “I’m not looking to be [Buckhantz]. I have the utmost respect for what he’s done.”

“We thank Justin for his contributions to NBC Sports Washington and our Wizards coverage the last three seasons,” said Bradford, who replaced Phillips as NBCSW’s GM after Phillips was promoted to a new position within the NBC Sports Group in October 2020. “He brought a tremendous level of skill and professionalism as an announcer and served as a dedicated colleague and representative of the network. We wish him the best moving forward.”