Olivier Sedra grew up in hockey-mad Montreal, but he considers basketball his first love.
Good thing, too, given that he is set to begin his first season as the Brooklyn Nets’ public address announcer at Barclays Center. He replaces David Diamante, who left the job after six years to focus on his boxing work.
“I’m a Habs fan through and through,” said Sedra, referring to his hometown Canadiens. “But I love the game of basketball. It has allowed me to travel all over the world.”
Sedra, 42, played hoops as a boy, but his bond with the game really took hold when he began his career as an announcer. After starting out in radio in Montreal in the early 2000s, he reached out to Concordia University, where he had studied broadcast communications, to inquire about potential PA work for the school’s athletic department. He started with the women’s hockey program before transitioning to basketball.
Sedra moved on to a similar job with the American Basketball Association’s Montreal Matrix, coached by former New Jersey Nets star Darryl Dawkins, whom Sedra introduced by the nickname “Chocolate Thunder.” Hearing his voice over the PA system at the 2,700-seat Centre Pierre Charbonneau, Sedra felt he was ready for the next level. That meant a move to the United States and the NBA.
In 2006, Sedra auditioned for and got the gig to be the PA announcer for Cleveland Cavaliers. During 11 seasons with the Cavs, he announced on the biggest stage as the team reached three straight NBA Finals, winning it all in 2016.
Now, he comes to a Nets team in the midst of a rebuild. Still, Sedra believes the Nets are on the rise and wants to be part of the excitement on and off the court. That the Nets will allow the him to commute back to Cleveland to see his 6-year-old son is a plus.
“In Cleveland, we had a great team, obviously, but we also created a great in-game entertainment experience in the arena,” Sedra said. “The Nets are trying to do the same thing.
“I remember growing up, going to Canadiens games, and just feeling so excited to be in the arena, part of that atmosphere. Now, I want fans coming to Nets games to feel the same way.”