Should Mike Gorman misidentify a player or commit one broadcasting miscue or another during NBC Sports Boston’s Celtics telecasts, cut the man some slack, will ya?
Gorman has always been a welcome companion — his “takes it, makes it” play-by-play a pleasure — during his 41 seasons as the Celtics’ television voice.
Besides, right now, he’s trying to track the game with half as many functioning eyes as he usually has.
Gorman was having lunch with his brother and sister in Boston a week ago when his left eye suddenly went dark.
“Almost like a black curtain,” said the 77-year-old Gorman, who feared he was suffering a stroke. “So I just started walking to Mass. General, my wife caught up to me on the way, they transferred me to Mass. Eye and Ear, and within 24 hours I’m on the operating table to have my retina reattached. It all happened in a blur.”
A retina detachment often requires a long recovery. I know from experience — I suffered one while covering the Celtics-Cavaliers Eastern Conference finals in Cleveland in 2017.
Recovery of sight after surgery is gradual and can take 2-3 months. But there was Gorman the following Monday, two days and one surgery after the detachment, calling the Celtics-Knicks game in New York.
He sounded like himself, but his look had changed: He was wearing an eye patch, because of light sensitivity. He wore the patch again Wednesday when the Celtics defeated the Cavaliers, and at some points during Friday night’s matchup with the Nets.
Gorman acknowledged that being able to see out of just one eye has added degrees of difficulty to calling a game.
“[Calling the Knicks game] was hard, harder than I thought it was going to be, to be honest with you,” he said. “Twitter, it seems, did not like it too much. People might say, ‘Jeez. Gorman is losing it. He missed that call right there.’ Well, it was a struggle to find the ball.
“The good news was that some of the teams still have the play-by-play guys on the floor. The bad news is they usually put them in a position where there are one or two rows of seats that they sell in front of where the play-by-play and color analyst are. There’s no corner to look around. So you have maybe 50 percent of the court, from the top of the key to the other top of the key that you can actually work with. That can be challenging even with full vision. Otherwise, you’re trying to look at the monitor. That’s a little tricky, too, because if the Celtics are going left to right on the court, they’re going right to left on the monitor because cameras are on the opposite side from where we sit.
“But I mean, I’ve got no complaints. It’s a great job. This just makes it a little more challenging to see what I need to see.”
Noticeably, Gorman spoke a little less than usual during Wednesday’s broadcast, but that was partially because of the loquacious Kendrick Perkins joining Gorman and analyst Brian Scalabrine on the broadcast.
“They had a good soft-shoe going for about an hour and a half,” said Gorman with a laugh. “Then Perk runs out of material.”
Gorman said before the season that his intent is to retire after next season. That remains the plan.
“That would be 42 years,” said Gorman. “That’s enough for me, thank you. It’s a lovely number and I’m really proud of that number, but I also think it’s time for somebody else to get a chance at that job.”
Gorman, who was a Navy aviator in his younger years, prefers to keep his feet on the ground these days, which is one reason he has called a limited schedule of road games this season.
“I don’t really want to get on many more airplanes, I’ll tell you that,” he said. “When I was 25 it was fun, 35 it started to wear on me, 55, 75, and so on. I’ve spent a lot of my life up in the air.”
Sean Grande, who has moved over from Celtics flagship station 98.5 The Sports Hub’s radio broadcasts to NBC Sports Boston often this season when Gorman hasn’t traveled, will get the chance to fulfill what he calls a “bucket-list item” in the coming week when he will call play-by-play on the Mets’ spring training broadcasts. Grande, a native New Yorker who grew up in the Mets’ Dwight Gooden/Darryl Strawberry heyday, will call their games Thursday and Friday on regional sports network SNY. Those are offdays for the Celtics. “My 13- or 14-year-old self is freaking out right now,” said Grande of the opportunity . . . Speaking of fellas named Sean that call baseball, the excellent Sean McDonough will indeed be back as part of WEEI’s Red Sox radio broadcasts this season. He’ll call in the neighborhood of 25 games, including the opener along with Joe Castiglione and Will Flemming on March 30 against the Orioles.