Pistons announcer George Blaha out for remainder of season, will undergo heart procedure

Rod Beard
The Detroit News

Detroit — Iconic Pistons play-by-play announcer George Blaha, who has been with the team for 46 seasons, will miss the remainder of the season as he prepares for a heart-bypass procedure, the Pistons announced Sunday.

After a routine checkup last week revealed an issue, Blaha’s doctors scheduled the heart procedure for Tuesday, and they expect the 76-year-old to have a full recovery.

George Blaha takes his usual spot on the side of the court before a Pistons game. The longtime voice of the Pistons will undergo a heart procedure on Tuesday.

“I am disappointed to miss the remainder of the season, but my health is the number one priority right now, and I have a great team of doctors guiding my short-term and long-term health,” Blaha said in a team statement.

“I’m grateful that they caught my issue early and they expect a full recovery. I look forward to getting back to full speed with rest and rehabilitation during the offseason and returning next year for my 47th season calling games for the Pistons.”

Blaha has been behind the mic for all three of the Pistons’ championship seasons, and he has become synonymous with the Pistons throughout each of their eras.

“My thoughts and prayers go out to George. He’s one of the best in the business and he’s seen almost everything in the business, both college and the pros,” Pistons coach Dwane Casey said before Sunday’s game at Little Caesars Arena.  

“He’s a man’s man and he knows the game. Thoughts and prayers to him as he goes through his health situation. We’re going to miss him the rest of the season, and my thoughts go out to him and his family.”

From his trademark “Count that baby and a foul!” after a made shot to the familiar “Off the high glass!” Blaha has been for many Pistons fans what Ernie Harwell was to Tigers fans or Vin Scully was to Dodgers faithful — a golden voice.

“George is part of our family and he and his wife, Mary, have our full support every step of the way,” Pistons team owner Tom Gores said in the statement. “George is in the best of care and in great spirits. We join his many fans, friends and colleagues in wishing him a full and speedy recovery.”

Blaha started his career with the Pistons in 1976 and has called more than 3,200 regular-season games and more than 260 playoff games. 

In 2008, he was inducted into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame. He also has received many awards, including the Ty Tyson Award for broadcasting excellence by the Detroit Sports Media Association and two-time Michigan Sports Broadcaster of the Year from the National Sportscasters and Sports Writers Association in 2003 and 2007.