The iconic greeting stands tall among the many great calls and quotes from American sportscasters and those around the globe. But as much as catchphrases and calls define a broadcaster, few do it better than Jim Nantz.
From his men’s basketball Final Four exclamations to his well-read and poised commentary at The Masters Tournament, Jim Nantz has turned generations of famed sports moments into unforgettable memories for fans — something that even the best play-by-play announcers can rarely achieve.
While he doesn’t create the moment himself, his ability to articulate it is beyond reproach. Even more impressive, his positive outlook on life and tireless dedication to worthwhile causes make him a role model for sports fans of all ages.
If you’re familiar with Nantz but haven’t dug deeper, you’re missing out. With an interesting backstory, a tireless dedication to sportscasting, and a never-ending log of unforgettable sayings, the Jim Nantz biography and greatest quotes have their rightful place with the athletes themselves.
Born James William Nantz III on May 17, 1959, in Charlotte, North Carolina, Nantz was a sportsman from his youth. Drawn to both the basketball court and the links, he was the co-captain of his high school basketball squad and a highly touted golfer at Marlboro High School in Marlboro, New Jersey.
Following his graduation from high school, Nantz was good enough to make the golf team at the University of Houston. Interestingly, he roomed with future PGA players Blaine Mcallister and Fred Couples, the latter of which would win a PGA major and become two-time PGA Player of the Year.
Though he was a formidable opponent on the golf course, Jim Nantz’s love of the links fueled his interest in sports broadcasting. In 1981, he graduated with a degree in Radio and Television Broadcasting and embarked upon arguably the most successful — and iconic — career in sports broadcasting history.
As a student, Nantz worked as an on-air personality in Houston sports talk radio — quickly garnering praise and attention for his polished and professional presentation. Eventually, he worked his way up to the weekend sports anchor in Houston, getting showered with similar praise.
In 1985, he was hired at a CBS affiliate in Salt Lake City to call BYU sports and the NBA’s Utah Jazz. Just two years later, Nantz was hired by CBS Sports as a full-time sports announcer. He quickly rose to prominence for his work in college basketball, the NFL, and the PGA Tour. He’s also known for his banter and work with legendary sportscasters such as Bill Raftery and Al Michaels.
With nearly 40 years as a sportscaster, Nantz has been honored with three Emmy Awards and five nods as National Sportscaster of the Year, as well as honors from both the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Though Nantz has built a life around sports, he’s also active in creating a better world around him. After losing his father to the disease, Nantz became an advocate for Alzheimer’s awareness via charitable work and donations.
Cool Note: Though Nantz lived in Houston and Connecticut throughout his career, he moved to a famous golf resort — Pebble Beach — in 2011. Notably, the home had a half-the-size replica of Pebble Beach’s 7th hole, becoming a must-visit for other announcers and PGA players such as Jack Nicklaus, among others. Today, Nantz resides in Nashville, Tennessee.
The Jim Nantz biography and greatest quotes are just two parts of the life of Nantz himself. Beyond calling NCAA men’s basketball championship games, multiple golf tournaments, and several Super Bowls, Nantz has a highlight reel of other accomplishments.
Jim Nantz has had plenty of memorable quotes over the course of a 40-year career, making him an announcing icon throughout America. Yet some Jim Nantz quotes take you to a place and time, allowing you to relive that moment again and again.
The Jim Nantz biography and greatest quotes are great when intertwined, but his quotes alone deserve every accolade from fellow sportscasters and fans alike. Here are a few quotes that continue to make memories among every sports fan.
At the ripe age of 21, Tiger Woods had plenty of buzz surrounding his first appearance at Augusta National. He was young, one of the rare black golfers on tour, and known for his unwavering desire to win.
Many expected Woods to put up a good showing, but few anticipated Woods would become the youngest player to put on the Green Jacket. After the first round, Woods trailed by three strokes — but that was the last time Tiger would trail at the end of a round.
Over the next three days, Woods put on a clinic, shooting 16 under to finish at -18 to become the youngest and first non-White player to win The Masters. As Woods sank his final putt on the 18th hole, Nantz uttered these immortal words: “There it is! A win for the ages,” becoming an iconic phrase associated with the tournament over 25 years later.
You can’t discuss Jim Nantz without talking about his famous intro. Coined in 2002, “Hello, friends” had a dual purpose.
In 1985, Nantz was playing a round of golf with “ABC Wide World of Sports” host Jim McKay. During their discussion, McKay gave some sound advice: Pretend you’re talking to one person or a small group of people instead of millions. Nantz admittedly didn’t fully understand this advice until almost 20 years later, eventually coining the phrase to help him relax before sportscasting.
In addition, Nantz states that “Hello, friends” is also an homage to his father, who passed away from Alzheimer’s in 2008. When he says those two words, a calm comes over him, and he thinks of his father, adding to the calmness before talking in front of millions of viewers.
Poised, collected, well-researched, and well-spoken, Jim Nantz isn’t one to throw out hot takes. No, he goes by his insight, his calm demeanor overruling any anger or outrage like many of his contemporaries (Ahem, Steven A. Smith).
In 2018, Nantz had the opportunity to write for his favorite golf publication: Golf Digest. The opening line — “I don’t like hot takes any more than I like hot cakes” — is a bit of a dig at the controversial side of sports news and a nod to his even-keel views on sports history — past, present, and future.
It’s hard to imagine such a simple phrase personifying someone like Nantz, but this one does so with precision.
The always-humble Nantz has never played in The Masters. After his freshman year in college, he famously talked about how he knew his only path to the PGA was through sportscasting — not the game itself. Becoming a pro golfer eluded a young Nantz, but his will to succeed continued.
As comedian George Burns once said, “I would rather fail at something I love than succeed at something I hate.” And that’s exactly what Nantz did.
By dedicating his life to sportscasting, Nantz didn’t just broadcast The Masters. He became an integral part of it. The only way to become part of something you aren’t participating in is to live, love, and breathe it.
Nantz is a testament to following dreams, and this quote shows how dreams can come true — even to the point of becoming synonymous with them.
Forty years removed from entering the sportscasting industry, Nantz continues to entertain sports fans with his undying work ethic, smooth voice, and sports-based insights. And heck, he’s well-recognized as one of the nicest guys in the industry to boot.
Even in 2024, Nantz is scheduled to call the Super Bowl and The Masters yet again. Most sports fans wouldn’t have it any other way.
Regardless of who your favorite sportscaster or commentator is, every sports fan can agree on one thing. Nantz’s reign at the top of sportscasting is much deserved — his calls stimulating the fondest memories in the minds of sports fans — now and forever.