Charlotte Hornets

Charlotte Hornets move on from Chris Kroeger in his first season as radio announcer

The Charlotte Hornets on Thursday said first-year, radio play-by-play broadcaster Chris Kroeger was no longer with the team.
The Charlotte Hornets on Thursday said first-year, radio play-by-play broadcaster Chris Kroeger was no longer with the team.

Less than a season into what he has described as his “dream job,” Chris Kroeger is out as the Charlotte Hornets’ radio play-by-play announcer.

The Hornets announced Thursday afternoon that Kroeger is no longer with the team. Steve Martin, who retired from the radio play-by-play job at the end of last season, will fill in the rest of this season.

Iconic voice of the Hornets Steve Martin retired at the end of the 2017-18 season.

A Hornets spokesman declined to discuss why Kroeger is no longer with the team, citing company policy on personnel matters. Messages left by the Observer on Kroeger’s cellphone were not immediately returned.

Kroeger left as an afternoon-show host at WFNZ-AM 610, the Hornets’ flagship station, in June to succeed Martin, who called Hornets games on radio or television throughout the NBA team’s existence in Charlotte. An Appalachian State graduate, Kroeger grew up in the Charlotte area as a lifelong Hornets fan.

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“As someone that grew up in Charlotte, my earliest and greatest memories as a sports fan came came at the Charlotte Coliseum, and watching the Hornets,” Kroeger said in the team’s announcement in June that he would succeed Martin. “It truly is the opportunity of a lifetime.”

In addition to calling games on radio with color analyst Matt Carroll, Kroeger was a presence on the Hornets’ website, hosting a weekly podcast. His call of Jeremy Lamb’s game-winning mid-court shot against the Raptors in Toronto on Sunday was featured on ESPN’s “SportsCenter.”

Martin will start calling games again Friday night in Los Angeles, when the Hornets start a four-game trip against the Lakers.

Rick Bonnell is a sportswriter/columnist for the Charlotte Observer. He has been in Charlotte since 1988, when the NBA arrived, and has covered the Hornets continuously. A former president of the Pro Basketball Writers Association, Bonnell also writes occasionally on the NFL and college sports.
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