Breen [608x342]
Breen [608x342] (Credit: Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images)

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For Mike Breen, one word is all it takes. Or, on special occasions, two.

As far as iconic commentator catchphrases go, Breen's "BANG!" is pretty high on the list. The word carries a reverberance far deeper than its four letters, capable of breaking a fan's heart or sealing a memory.

Breen says his signature call finds its roots during his college days at Fordham University -- but not in the way you'd expect. While Breen was a member of Fordham's student radio station, WFUV, "bang" wasn't his go-to call when he was on the air. On the contrary, it was what he'd yell in the stands after a big shot as a fan when he wasn't calling a game.

Once Breen began calling more games for Fordham student radio, he tried to work "bang" into his big-moment repertoire, but shelved it after determining it didn't sound right on WFUV's airwaves. When Breen graduated and began calling games once more in packed high school gymnasiums, his iconic tagline once again felt natural and reappeared.

Since its early days at Rose Hill Gymnasium in the Bronx, Breen's "bang" has grown into a national phenomenon.

Stephen Curry has become something of the poster boy for Breen's "bang" signature over the years. As of September 2023 he's received by far the most such calls, thanks to a combination of his longevity, frequent big-game appearances and obvious skill set from beyond the arc.

The Golden State Warriors star is well aware of the connection between his game and Breen's call. Curry was the first-ever player to prompt a double bang from Breen, with his deep game-winning 3-pointer against the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2016 marking the spinoff call's first usage by Breen (at least as an NBA commentator). Seven years later Curry gifted Breen a pair of his new sneakers, which had been named the Curry 2 Bang Bang PE Retros in honor of the call.

Curry's shot was the first example of Breen's occasional simple, but arguably even more iconic twist on his call, saved for when a game-changing moment calls for even more fanfare: the double bang.

With the double bang becoming more frequent, it's natural to wonder if a triple bang is the natural next step in the call's evolution. But you shouldn't hold your breath -- this year.

According to Breen, he'd only consider tripling up on his call if the New York Knicks were playing in the NBA Finals. With New York out of the postseason this year, anyone hoping to see another variation of his famous catchphrase will be left waiting until at least next spring.

Here are the most notable examples of Breen's signature call from this postseason.

Jaylen Brown ties ECF Game 1 late

With seconds remaining in the opening game of the Eastern Conference finals, the Indiana Pacers looked primed to steal a pivotal game in Boston.

Brown had other plans.

He drained a corner 3-pointer in close quarters to tie the contest, which would moments later go to overtime. The Celtics would take Game 1 133-128.

Andrew Nembhard secures Indiana a memorable Game 3 victory

Trailing the Eastern Conference semifinals two games to none, the Pacers returned to Gainbridge Fieldhouse in search of a momentum-boosting win. The contest came down to the wire, but Nembhard delivered the go-ahead shot with 16 seconds remaining to set up Indiana's first victory of the series. The Pacers would go on to take the series in seven games.

Kyrie Irving caps masterful outing to seal Round 1 for Dallas

The Dallas Mavericks had a chance to advance to the conference semifinals in front of their home fans, and Kyrie Irving was up to the task. The veteran guard poured in 30 points in the series-clinching 114-101 win, with the exclamation point coming on a mesmerizing and-1 bucket to help the Mavericks put the LA Clippers out of reach.

Donte DiVincenzo takes the roof off of Madison Square Garden

Things didn't look good late for the Knicks in Game 2 of their opening-round series against the Philadelphia 76ers. The 76ers held a five-point lead with less than a minute remaining, and appeared poised to take a tied series back to Philadelphia.

New York wasn't done, though. A furious rally was capped by DiVincenzo, who cashed a go-ahead 3-pointer, paving the way for the Knicks to take Game 2 -- and later the series.