Ryan Cameron’s ‘second’ job as Hawks PA a labor of love

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041915 ATLANTA: Hawks public announcer Ryan Cameron during the first round home playoff game against the Nets on Sunday, April 19, 2015, in Atlanta. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com
041915 ATLANTA:  Hawks public announcer Ryan Cameron greets Dominique Wilkins before tip off in the first round home playoff game against the Nets on Sunday, April 19, 2015, in Atlanta.   Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

041915 ATLANTA: Hawks public announcer Ryan Cameron greets Dominique Wilkins before tip off in the first round home playoff game against the Nets on Sunday, April 19, 2015, in Atlanta. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

By RODNEY HO/ rho@ajc.com, originally filed Monday, April 20, 2015

Ryan Cameron is known in Atlanta as the “Ryan King,” the hometown radio host for nearly a quarter century.

But for the past decade, he has had a second life in Philips Arena more than 40 days a year as the public address announcer for Atlanta Hawks games.

On the surface, this low-paying gig seems beneath Cameron. Why sacrifice a full night’s sleep and precious “off” time to introduce NBA players and announce scores? It’s simple, really. He love basketball and he loves the Hawks. And he gets to express his love to 15,000 screaming fans in what he considers the best seat in Philips Arena.

Cameron recently signed a long-term renewal contract with the Hawks so his voice will be the one you’ll hear for years to come when you go to a home game – including game 2 Wednesday against the Brooklyn Nets.

I profiled the magic that is his PA work in a story for myajc.com and the print edition you can read here if you’re a subscriber.

Here are some quotes that didn’t make the story.

“He’s articulate. He’s funny. And he does a great job really illustrating the types of players we have. He’s the best!” – Dominique Wilkins, arguably the most famous Hawk in history who was recently given his own statue outside Philipa Arena.

“The PA job is the Ryan Cameron position. I think he changed things in the league. Outside of Detroit, everyone used to be stoic.” – Peter Sorckoff, chief creative officer and senior vice president for marketing.

“He has a knack for starting trends. He should copyright everything he says.” – Randy Kessler, attorney and regular season ticket holder since 1999.

Randy Kessler, left, hanging out on the front row with Ryan Cameron. Photo credit Scott Cunningham

Randy Kessler, left, hanging out on the front row with Ryan Cameron. Photo credit Scott Cunningham

“He has a knack for getting the crowd behind the team at the right time.” – Steve Holman, the long-time voice of the Hawks

“I went to the theater one time and one of the actors imitated his ‘Threeeee!!!’ What? Really? Wow! His sayings have become part of the pop culture here.” – Mike King, in-game host and a marketing specialist who has worked at Whole World Theater as an improv actor and now runs the Village Theatre.

“He’s really funny on the mic. I think the fans enjoy it. One of the better ones in the NBA. When he calls an offensive foul and says ‘That foul is offensive!’ people gets a charge out of it. When the other team makes a good play, he downplays it a little bit. He does a great job.” – Jeff Teague, Hawks point guard

“Ryan brings so much excitement to the crowd. He gets us all motivated.” – Hawks power forward Elton Brand

“He has a pulpit as part of one of the top radio stations in the market. He’s a marketing asset with us. He’s a partner with us. He’s really the orchestra leader for the momentum and the fun here. I can’t say enough good things about him.” – Steve Koonin, CEO of the Hawks, who meets with Cameron regularly to pick up marketing ideas

041915 ATLANTA:  Hawks public announcer Ryan Cameron gets a hug from former Hawks player Joe Johnson during pregame warmups for the first round home playoff game against the Nets on Sunday, April 19, 2015, in Atlanta.  He was booed lustily throughout Sunday's game whenever he touched the ball but Ryan keeps good relations with ex-Hawks, regardless of what the fans think. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

041915 ATLANTA: Hawks public announcer Ryan Cameron gets a hug from former Hawks player Joe Johnson during pregame warmups for the first round home playoff game against the Nets on Sunday, April 19, 2015, in Atlanta. He was booed lustily throughout Sunday’s game whenever he touched the ball but Ryan keeps good relations with ex-Hawks, regardless of what the fans think. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com


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