Tim Sinclair grabs mic as Bulls’ new PA announcer, entrusted with players’ iconic introduction

Tim Sinclair made his debut for the Bulls last at the team’s preseason opener against the Rockets. | Chicago Bulls

Sinclair sent his audition tape in from the NBA Bubble, and when he heard the introductions of the Bulls’ lineups on his computer, the hair stood up on his arms. Tim Sinclair spent his formative years in Detroit during the “Bad Boys” era, and, yes, Chicago, he was a fan.
The only Bulls games he saw live were in 1987 at the Silverdome when Michael Jordan dropped 61 points on the Pistons and another in high school after he and his family moved to Illinois.
Fast-forward to the present day, and Sinclair is taking over as the Bulls’ public-address announcer from the legendary Tommy Edwards, who delivered sports’ most recognizable introduction for 25 seasons.
Sinclair joined the Chicago Sun-Times for another edition of the Chat Room.
When did you decide to pursue a career as a public-address announcer, and what has that journey been like?
Tim Sinclair: You know, very few make this a career. You can probably count on one hand the number of people who do public address as a full-time job. It never entered my head. I was an architecture major in college. I got involved in radio and realized I might have some talent there. I spent the bulk of my career doing radio and loving sports. The University of Illinois gave me the opportunity to do a baseball game, and I thought, ‘‘Oh, that will be kind of fun.’’ I jumped in and tried it, and I don’t think I was very good, but I loved it! They gave me more and more opportunities, and it began to grow from there.
What did the tryout for this position with the Bulls entail?
TS: It started more than a year ago when Tommy first announced he was stepping away. I had seen it come up on social media, but I was happy in Indianapolis [where he spent the last two seasons with the Pacers]. I thought that’s tempting, but I can’t leave. Well, then someone from within the Reinsdorf organization sent a text and said, ‘‘Hey, I think you’d be really good. You should consider this.’’ The process for the Bears job was happening, so I reached out to this guy and said, ‘‘I would love to do it if I also get the Bears job because then I’ll have three teams in the same city [he is also the Fire PA announcer].’’
Over the summer, when the Bears announced that I would be taking over that job [for home games], I reconnected with the Bulls. They said, ‘‘Well, send us a tape.’’ The problem is I was in the NBA bubble.
How did you tape your audition in the bubble?
TS: They sent me the track, and I was literally in my hotel room with my head in my closet stuffed with towels and sweatshirts doing the ‘‘AAAAAND NOW . . .’’ I’m sure whoever shared a wall with me was driven crazy.
It had been awhile since I heard the introductions of the Bulls’ lineups, and when I got it via email and opened it up on my computer, the hair stood up on my arms. That was the second I knew this not only was special, but I wanted it, and I wanted it badly.
What does it feel like to replace Tommy Edwards?
TS: That’s a loaded question! It’s an honor and a privilege and something I don’t take lightly, to sit in that seat that Tommy and Ray [Clay] made quite famous.
The Bulls’ intro is universally described as iconic. How would you describe it?
TS: I use that exact word. It’s iconic. It’s also trendsetting. For so long, introductions were very basic, and nobody really stepped outside the box. When Tommy brought that track to the table, as I understand it, they started that whole process that turned what was information into entertainment.
Do you have a favorite introduction or one that compares to the Bulls’ intro?
TS: It’s hard to think of anything that rivals it.
How did announcing in the bubble prepare you for this opportunity?
TS: My two years with the Pacers probably gave me as much as anything. Now, in this new normal of having no fans, I did 60-something games in the bubble and the [WNBA] wubble with no one there. So that definitely was a good experience of what life is going to be like, at least for a little while announcing to empty arenas.
How did you hype yourself up without fans?
TS: I have always said your job as a PA announcer is to reflect what the crowd is or should be feeling. Which is great until there’s no crowd. So I really had to shift my mindset into two different things: 1. We’re trying to keep things as normal as possible for players. 2. I wanted to feel like it was a TV show because it was. The only people who were consuming the product were on TV or radio.
How do you plan to bring your own personality to an iconic role?
TS: For a long time, public address has been this voice in the sky; you can almost be automated. From my perspective, I think I bring a bit of humanity to it. I don’t ever want to feel like I’m not a person. I think you will hear hints of humanity and personality in my voice. I’ve found the more relatable you can be, the more people will gravitate to what you do.

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