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    Cavaliers Name John Michael as New Radio Play-by-Play Man

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    john.michael.cavs.jpg Cleveland.com - The hockey announcer hired to call basketball games drew on a football analogy to explain what it's like to replace a broadcasting legend.

    John Michael, who the Cavaliers tabbed to succeed Joe Tait, hopes to prove he's a play-by-play man for all seasons.

    "I feel a little like Aaron Rodgers stepping in after Brett Favre left Green Bay," Michael said. "Why couldn't I have been the guy following in the footsteps of Don Majkowski? You don't replace someone like Joe Tait. But it does provide amazing motivation to work hard."

    The Cavaliers named the 39-year-old Michael their new radio voice Thursday morning. He will work alongside analyst and former Cavaliers forward Jim Chones once the NBA lockout ends.

    Until the work stoppage is resolved, Michael will continue his duties as an in-game host of NHL Columbus Blue Jackets telecasts on Fox Sports Ohio. The Aliquippa, Pa., native also provides analysis for the network's pregame and postgame shows.

    Although he has broadcast many sports, Michael primarily has spent the past eight years focused on hockey, including two seasons (2007-09) as the play-by-play voice of the Lake Erie Monsters. His experience with basketball is limited to calling high-school and small-college games in Western Pennsylvania.

    Michael understands some Cavs fans will wonder why in a field of 200 applicants the franchise chose an announcer used to describing kick saves rather than tomahawk dunks.

    Cavs President Len Komoroski points to Michael's versatility, storytelling and strong fundamentals. He also said hockey and basketball broadcasts have a similar rhythm and flow.

    "The way John brings games to life is exceptional," Komoroski said.

    The organization became familiar with Michael during his two seasons calling Monsters' games. Cavaliers and Monsters owner Dan Gilbert occasionally sat alongside Michael in the press box.

    Co-workers in Columbus mentioned Michael's meticulous preparation for games and attention to detail.

    He graduated from Notre Dame with degrees in mechanical engineering, law and business administration.

    He worked as a trial lawyer for five years in construction law before breaking into pro sports broadcasting, and later supplied legal services for the Cavs and Monsters.

    Among his new Cavaliers duties, Michael will contribute to the team's website and be active in social media. While technology changes the way we follow sports, Michael spoke of the timeless qualities of the man he replaces.

    He wasn't born when Tait began calling Cavs games during the inaugural 1970-71 season. Before last season, Tait was the recipient of the Basketball Hall of Fame's Curt Gowdy Media award.

    "I can remember listening to Joe as a kid," Michael said. "We could pick up the games where I lived ... Joe's broadcasts had a Vin Scully feel to them. He drew you in and made you feel very comfortable, like you were sitting round a campfire.

    "I'm humbled by this opportunity."

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