House was just excellent. He has slight chemistry with former teammates and fellow analysts Brian Scalabrine and Kendrick Perkins, as well as host Amina Smith. Succinct, quirky, informed and effortlessly funny, House was a huge hit with NBC Sports Boston viewers.
Your friendly neighborhood media columnist (Hello) has received more emails and social media messages about House’s addition to the shows in recent months – virtually all overwhelmingly positive – than about any other local media topic.
“Hey man, lets get on with it, right?” House said upon hearing the positive reaction. “It’s something I really enjoy doing and I think people enjoy the energy, humor and camaraderie that this group brings together.
“I love working with everyone here, on the air and behind the scenes,” he added. “Everyone brings great energy and is also very knowledgeable. It’s not like talking to a beginner or someone who’s just doing one thing behind the scenes but really doesn’t understand the game. Everyone here does. It’s really refreshing.
“And with Scal and Perk, I think we won a title together and we happily give each other’s lives good-naturedly. The whole team was like that. It was something special and I think the audience knows that and can see that.”
House, who lives in Phoenix, first tried his hand at coaching after retiring — his eldest son Jaelen plays for the University of New Mexico, and twin sons Kalek and Kaden are highly respected high school freshmen — but the usual modern ones Problems of youth Sport bothered him, including those all-too-familiar overbearing parents.
He still cared about the NBA and felt he had something to say, so although he never considered a media career during his playing days, he decided to see what might be out there.
“I reached out to a few people and the first thing I ever did was ‘First Take’ when Skip Bayless was there [at ESPN],” he said. “It was going well and when he went to Fox I just started doing some stuff with him.”
Soon, House, a former Arizona State star, landed a job as a color analyst on the Pac-10 network’s college basketball shows. He also does some plays on FSI and CBS. But landing at NBC Sports Boston during the season was a combination of serendipity and the network’s intelligent scouting for talent.
“He wasn’t in the plans to start the season, but we looked to see if there were others out there that could be a good fit,” Kevin Miller, NBC Sports Boston vice president, content creation and strategy, said in an email.
In December, the production model the network used to produce games changed, and “we had to do a few test games,” Miller said. “For those games we had two game talent teams – Mike [Gorman] and Scal for the actual broadcast and a secondary team for the test match. For one of those games, we used Eddie as the color analyst. He did a very good job.
Miller then spoke to House about potential studio dates. There was a complication – House lives in Phoenix. “My home base,” he calls it.
“Obviously,” Miller said, “we have a lot of guests and analysts remotely, so it’s not that we couldn’t use it remotely, it was better to have people in the studio when we can.” We did a few remote shows with him and liked his tone and it suited our group.”
House cemented his place in the rotation in March when he was in town for Kevin Garnett’s farewell ceremony. NBC Sports Boston had him in the studio for several games while the Celtics were on a road trip west. House had never worked in the studio before, but Miller found he was getting better and more confident with every game.
“After that stretch we knew it was a good game,” he said. “We couldn’t use him for all games but we made sure to pick a few that he can [remotely] and a few personally. Once we made the playoffs, we could use him more often.”
NBC Sports Boston will continue to use House through to the Finals should the Celtics reach them. When asked if he’ll be back next season, House said briskly, “That’s the plan, that’s the plan, that’s the plan. I really love doing it and love the people I work with and it means a lot when people say they enjoyed seeing me and hearing what I have to say.”
Chad Finn can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeChadFinn.