Joe Tait & a Childhood Growing Up

“It’s basketball time from The Q!”

Recently, I stumbled upon a Cavs video with radio announcer Joe Tait commentary and it brought back a plethora of emotions from my childhood. You can watch the video HERE!

I am only 24 years old right now, so don’t be fooled. I’m not some old man talking down to you at the current moment. I wasn’t around for the likes of Austin Carr’s playing days along with Bingo Smith or say Mark Price, too.

My days as a Cavaliers fan began in what would best be described as misery. The team was truly terrible growing up in the early 2000s. Of course, savior LeBron James came to town in 2003 and that slowly but surely began the process of building a playoff team.

I had this radio/clock growing up. On the weekends, my parents would go out for dinner and a movie and hire a babysitter named Jennifer to take care of me and my two brothers. Unfortunately, my bedtime was at 9 PM. The reason this was always an issue is the Cavs games never finished on time. Typically ending between 9:30-10 at the earliest.

I was stuck.

Luckily, I was able to set a timer on the radio/clock and listen to the broadcast by none other than Joe Tait himself. There was no way I would fall asleep until that final whistle blew. Yes, most of the time the Cavaliers were on the losing end, but I was determined to hear the call until its finality.

Tait announced over 3,000 games for the Cavs. Which, thinking about that number, is absolutely incredible. He retired in 2011 and unfortunately passed away at the age of 83 in 2021.

The man just simply had a way with words and an ability to describe what was happening that was absolutely uncanny. It made me actually want to listen to said games on the radio and not be disappointed when TV time was over. While the Cavs lost a vast majority of the games, turning that radio on was still very special. It’s truly something that I’ll never forget even as I transition into adulthood.

These signature calls were taken via Joe Tait’s Wikipedia page:

  • “It’s basketball time at the Cleveland Arena/Coliseum/Gund/Q!” – opening for Cavaliers home games
  • “Wham with a right/left hand!” – for a Cavaliers dunk
  • “To the line, to the lane…” – when a Cavaliers player drives the lane for a basket
  • “3-ball…Got it!” – a three-point shot
  • “Sights it, shoots it, got it.” – for free throw attempts
  • “This is Joe Tait. Have a good night everybody!” – what he said to end a broadcast

Frankly, you aren’t a Cavs fan if you don’t remember these calls. They are true classics.

There are certain adults in life that are able to have such a profound impact on children, in a positive and appropriate way, that they will be remembered forever and always as Joe Tait has for me and many others.

This is Zach Shafron. Have a good day everybody!

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