In the third round between the Atlanta Hawks and Washington Wizards in the 2017 NBA Playoffs, viewers may have been surprised to see Mario from Super Mario Bros. 3 around the shoulder of Hawk, Mike Muscala. It sparked an unlikely conversation between announcers Ian Eagle and Greg Anthony.
Ian asked, “When you go to get that tattoo, are you 50/50 at that time thinking, ‘do I go Mario, or do I go Luigi?’” Perhaps a (somewhat dated) joke about the irrelevance of the individuality in early Mario games, where the bros were merely a palette swap.
Greg replied sensibly enough, that there is no 50/50 if you have a preference. “I’m a Luigi guy, personally,” Ian decides, and Greg “more of a Mario.” Maybe Ian’s alternative taste wasn’t just chitchat.
He voiced the announcer in some NBA Shootout games from 989 Sports, and NBA ‘09 for the PSP. Most recently, he announced for Super Mario Bros 3., in a Late Show With Stephen Colbert segment where speed running world record holder, Mitch Fowler races against a Hot Pocket and the Columbia University track team. Ian quips about Mario’s risk of dying, and wonders how he would run in a real life track team, before deftly changing subjects to the track runners and pocket. It’s a bizarrely no nonsense analysis. He displays competence in interpreting the relevance of the warp whistle and white platform technique, though it was probably written beforehand.
At the end of the banter, Greg said if they happened to get tattoos, he’d get Mario, and Ian Luigi. “If this series extends to seven games, we’ll talk about that,” Ian concludes. Since Atlanta followed by winning its first game in the set, this became a more realistic possibility.