Those are large egos attached to those extra-long bodies. And so when Elvin Hayes went looking for Bullet broadcaster Frank Herzog in a Phoenix hotel lobby not too long ago, He was not smiling.
Haye's wife had called him and mentioned that Herzog, on his play-by-play description the previous night, said flat-out that Hayes had taken a bad shot.
"How do you know what a bad shot is?" Hayes snarled when he finally cornered Herzog.
"Well, Elvin," said Henzog, no whimpering shrimp at 6-foot-5, "you had the ball down low about 20 feet from the basket. You were triple-teamed when you threw up the shot, the ball bit the glass and never touched the rim. Wouldn't you call that a bad shot?
Hayes sullen scowl suddenly turned into a slightly sheepish grin. "Yeah," he said, "I guess maybe you were right." Now, Elvin Hayes was smiling.
And so is Frank Herzog as he tells you the story. He is leaning back in his chair now in the cluttered little office on the third floor of WTOP's Broadcast House, talking about favorite subject: talking.
Herzog has been talking - and lately often shouting - about the Washington Bullets for the last three years. And now, with Washington's favorite basketball team about to play for the NBA championship, a lot more folks should be listening.
Yes, all games in the final series will be televised locally by CBS. But many Washington hoop freaks will also tone down the network golden throats. Boring Brent Mushberger and babbery Rick Barry, and tune in hoarse, hometown Herzog.
They will listen to Herzog, knowing well there will be times they will not be able to understand his descriptions because he is occasionally semihysterical when things are going well for the Bullets.
The words, when roared into the microphone, have a tendency to jumble together, particularly when Herzog is working from Capitol Centre, where his voice is often muffled by the ear-popping noise from the home folks.
Clearly, Herzog enjoys his work, and that infectious enthusiasm is a major reason many television sets will be silent when the final series begins.
But do not even dare to suggest that Frank Herzog is a homer. Oh, my, how he bristles at the very mention of the word. Yees, he says, he gets very exhited. Yes he admits, he is happy when the Bullets are winning. But a homer? Never.
"I had a lot of trouble my first year because I was very paranoid about sounding like a homer," he said the other day. "Yet, you also have to ask where do you draw that fine line between a homer and a broadcaster who is truly enthusiastic about the game.
"I am the Bullets' broadcaster. We're also a 50,000-watt station at night. I've got people in Florida and Rhode Island listening who might not be Bullets fans, so I have an obligation to them to call the game as fairly as I can."
But at the same time, my primary audience is made up of Bullet fans, and they made up of Bullets' point of view. It's very difficult to balance those two. Sure, when the Bullets pull off a great play or score a big basket, you naturally have to get more excited about that then if the other team did it.
"But I won't pull any punches, either. If the Bullets are playing badly, I'll say they're playing badly. If an official makes a bad call against the other team, I'll say it's a bad call. I'm a reporter, too, I've got to give both sides of it. And I do."
As evidence, Herzog refers an interviewer to the tape of the fourth quarter of his broadcast of the final game against Philadelphia last Friday night.
When Bobby Dandridge was called for a foul at a critical point in the game, Herzog said, "That's a good call by (referee John) Vanek. The fans don't like it (there is booing in the background) but yes, indeed, he hooked him."
When Wes Unseld scores the game winning points, however, Herzog's description - "Unseld rebound, back up, no, tip follow, it's good" - is barely comprehensible above the roar of the crowd, even though Herzog is yelling at the top of his voice.
When the noise dies down briefly, Herzog has ragained some composure and describes the scene. "The fans are up and cheering, the cheerleaders are up and hugging the photographers," he says. "But hold it, the opera ain't over till the fat lady sings. Remember, the 76ers scored four points in the last nine seconds."
Herzog remembers that little tidbit very well. There were nine seconds remaining and the Bullets hold a four point lead in game one of the series when Herzog told his audience, "It looks like this one is all over."
When Doug Collins hit a jump shot at the buzzer to send the game into overtime, "I just flat out said on the air that I blew it," Herzog said. "I ate my crow right on the air.