Gus Johnson and March Madness
"History will tell its own story and hopefully when I'm dead and gone, I'll leave a mark and a legacy where people will say hey, he did a good job at what he did," Gus Johnson said.
He's one of the historic voices in all of college sports and if you know March Madness, you know Gus Johnson.
Johnson was in town Saturday to call Missouri's game against Kansas.
When you spend a few minutes with Gus Johnson inside a college basketball arena, you quickly realize what Gus Johnson means to college basketball.
His energy and his passion for the game really can't go unnoticed.
In his 15 plus years behind the mic, Johnson's taken a historic tradition in the NCAA tournament and given it, it's voice.
If college basketball were a story, Gus Johnson would tell it. Probably with a catch.
He's had a chance to call some of the biggest rivalries in college basketball and many of the NCAA Tournament's greatest games.
Johnson's career started in Waco, Texas. He then moved to Huntsville, Alabama, then Greensboro, North Carolina, then to Washington D.C.
"I started working for ESPN doing Canadian Football League games, and also at Madison Square Garden covering the Knicks and covering the Yankees, did some basketball for the Big East network. They saw me at CBS and gave me a chance to do college basketball on the network," Johnson explained.
And by chance, the network may have found its voice of March.
Some may even tell you, the face of college basketball, quite literally.
Just ask Will Heckman-Mark.
"Gus Johnson, best announcer in college basketball. College basketball is all about the passion, it's all about the fans and he brings it, every game," Heckman-Mark said.
Johnson's traveled from coast to coast, witnessed basketball's best across the country.
"Gus Johnson in our industry is an icon really. He's a voice and a recognizable figure that everyone knows about," Missouri athletic director Mike Alden said.
Still, he's new to the border war.
"You know, I haven't been here in quite some time, but it's my first being a part of this rivalry, but gosh you guys hate each other, man oh man, I didn't realize it was this serious," Johnson explained.
Johnson says rivalries are what makes college athletics special.
Two teams that agree on nothing.
Except maybe one call.
He's sitting courtside.
"I've been really taken aback sometimes by the responses that I've been getting, the positive responses that I get from people who love college basketball. I think it's just a simple thing. I love college basketball. I love basketball in general and every time I go on the mic, I try to just be a fan," Johnson said.
It's hard not to like Gus Johnson.
He'll cheer for you, he'll call you out, and he'll carry you through, no matter the situation.
"Connelly, five to go. Lewis has been awesome, let's it go. He ties it at 62. Two seconds to go, Lavender, three quarter court, and we're going to overtime in Lexington. Ha ha!" called Johnson in a past game.
It seems sometimes in the world of college basketball, the stars aren't always those on the court.
"I'm living the dream man," Johnson said.
But rather those who help make March, madness.
I asked Gus if he has a favorite call.
He told me he has a lot of favorite games like UCLA - Gonzaga, George Mason - North Carolina, and Princeton - UCLA, among others.
But he added he doesn't really judge his calls for himself.
He wants the people to do that.
All Gus wants to do, he said, is keep living his dream.