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You Won't Have Billy Packer to Kick Around Anymore

He's been pushed aside after 34 Final Fours, in favor of Clark Kellogg. He's not going the Keith Jackson route and sticking around for Duke-Carolina games, instead going off on an unnamed "fun project."

This really isn't the place for Packerschadenfreude, as I've always been fonder of the curmudgeon than most Carolina fans. As I once wrote:

Eventually I'm going to get around to writing a - defense is too strong of a word here - something on Packer, but the gist of it is, he hates everything. The bias you see towards your team? He's that way to everybody. He's a curmudgeon, an ass, and yes, he probably enjoys it. All this makes him presumably a lousy person to know, but a fascinating color commentator, and a refreshing change from the Vitale school of gushing praise and egocentric outlooks.

Everyone once in awhile you hear a defense of Dick Vitale, and it always includes that he loves the game as a mitigating factor. His overuse of catchphrases, his self-aggrandization, his earsplitting, nonstop voice, it's all brushed aside because he truly loves basketball. Well Billy Packer loves basketball, too. He just loves the platonic ideal of it, the perfect version in his head. He'd gush on the rare occasion that a player lived up to that ideal, but where Vitale will babble, Packer is otherwise affronted that someone would blaspheme against his game when they otherwise fell short. And if nothing else, I could always say that when I screamed at the TV, "Shut up, Billy Packer!" occasionally, he would.

So vaya con Dios, Billy. Or at least vaya. I leave you with the praise once bestowed on you by Will Blythe, author and Carolina fan extraordinaire:

Billy, I admit that I joined an entire coliseum in booing you at the ACC Tournament in 2005 when you received an award for your contributions to the league. To be honest, I booed until I was hoarse. So did everyone seated around me. Wake fans, State fans, UNC fans — you brought us all together in a moment of mystical harmony. We all thought of you as an insufferable, sour-spirited know-it-all. But now I see a prophet without honor in his own land who speaks truth to power. I love you, man.