Skip to main content

Nate’s Notes 54: Brian Hanni | “The Game Can Be Bad, But You Can’t Be”

By February 26, 2023June 8th, 2023No Comments

Brian Hanni

Sports broadcaster for the University of Kansas

Brian Hanni went meta in this interview, sharing lessons that he demonstrated while talking about the lessons. What an incredible interview.

First, savor every moment. The 2021-22 Kansas basketball team was considered by many to not even be in the top 5 of Bill Self’s most talented teams, yet Brian found himself in New Orleans, calling the national championship game, and making his famous call at the buzzer: “It’s a banner year for Kansas Basketball” and then right after making that call, getting hugged by Ocahi Obaji, the most outstanding player of the tournament. In Brian’s words, savor every moment, because tomorrow isn’t promised to any of us.

Second, the game can be bad, but you can’t be. In 2016, in Brian’s first year as the Voice of the Jayhawks, he found himself in Waco, TX, calling a game with the Jayhawks down 42—0 at half time, wondering how he was going to fill the air for two more hours and keep fans tuned in. But rather than mail it in, Brian huddled with his team, gave them the Tom Hedrick speech, and then started to brainstorm storylines, interviews, and talking points. He had no control over the outcome of the game, but he took complete control of his broadcast, and gave the fans an interesting, informative, energetic, engaging broadcast by controlling the things he could control.

Third, you only have one chance to make a first impression. Michael Jordan knew that every time he played a game, someone was there watching him play for the first time, so he wanted to give them a show. When things get tough, when we have a bad day, when we’re tempted to slump back in our chairs, or not bring the energy, we can remember Michael Jordan. We only get one chance to make a first impression, so bring the energy even if it’s on a podcast with a host you’ve just met for the first time.

And finally, Brian  put a bow on this episode by talking about a lesson he learned from Remy Martin. Life doesn’t always go according to plan. Remy hardly played in the Big 12 season. But then in March Madness, and specifically in the national championship game, Remy hit big shot after big shot. So never give up. And if we savor every moment, control what we can control, and always bring energy, sometimes, just in the nick of time, it actually all comes together.

It’s a simple idea. Please take it seriously. 

Brian Hanni Bio:

Brian Hanni is the “Voice of the Jayhawks” broadcasting men’s basketball, football, and baseball games for his alma mater. After graduating from the University of Kansas in 2002, Brian worked as the Sports Director at a local radio station in Lawrence, Kansas for ten years. However, in 2012, Brian left Kansas to bolster his resume as the “Voice of the Red Raiders” at Texas Tech, where he called two trips to the College World Series and an NCAA tournament run in men’s basketball.

Now back at KU, Brian hosts “Hawk Talk” shows with Bill Self and Lance Leipold, and his latest project, “Banner Year,” is the official commemorative collector’s edition coffee-table book celebrating KU’s 2022 National Championship run.

Brian is passionate about using his platform in sports to enrich the lives of others and is always eager to help people with a worthy cause. And I’m especially grateful Brian shared his time with me.  I hope you enjoyed learning from Brian Hanni, because I certainly did.

Get Nates Notes In Your Inbox

Subscribe to Nates Notes to receive a summary of each podcast episode delivered to your Inbox.