Voices

Noah Eagle Always Wants to Soar Higher

Kyle Koster
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Noah Eagle has garnered more than a few profiles before turning 25 years-old and most have two things in common. They marvel at his age, at how a person unable to legally rent a car back in 2019 earned the keys to drive the Los Angeles Clippers radio broadcast, and they explore what it’s like having a famous father at the top of his chosen field. So he likely knows what’s coming when he answers my call and thoughtfully comes along the well-trod ground.

Eagle, who has narrated the most successful season in Clippers franchise history, embraces both his surname and his youth. When he talks about broadcasting, you can hear vintage fabric intertwining with a Gen Z perspective. It’s a marriage of past, present, and future that portends a second-generation multi-decade run of success behind the microphone. 

“I knew what was going to be following me when I got into the business,” he says of the two common narrative themes. “I knew what was going to be following me when I got to Syracuse considering that’s where my parents met. There’s a lineage of Eagle blood in orange.”

Though the announcing gene runs dominant in DNA, it becomes clear that nurturing the instrument is as important as being a natural. That the tie that binds all voices together is the quest for improvement, a never-ending race open to all age groups. Sure, he was going to broadcasting camps at age 14. That doesn’t mean he won’t be self-reflecting when he’s 64. Or making sure he’s better than he was the prior year or game. 

“The biggest thing for any broadcaster, no matter how much experience they have, is that you can always improve,” he surmises. “The minute you decide you’re a finished product, you’re finished in the business. It’s not just right now. It’s every single day and every single year, how can I get better in every facet.”

Eagle is forging his own path, but can still lean on an experienced trail guide familiar with the terrain. There’s a thankfulness and appreciation for being entrusted with the position. There’s also a dogged determination to prove that faith was well-placed. And to prove that young people can handle a heavy load right out of the gate.

“For the longest time in his career he was always The Young Guy,” Noah says of his father, Ian. “He was the youngest broadcaster, he was the up-and-comer and everyone was talking about him in that light. He said at some point you need to make the shift from being a really good young broadcaster to just being a really good broadcaster. That’s where I've made a conscious decision — okay, how can I make myself a better broadcaster? I don’t care about my age, I'm going to be the best version of me every single time and I want to get better each time the red light goes on. And I feel like I’ve done that so far.”

Eagle knows he’s not at his prime, and there's security that comes with that. Because he shouldn’t be. One’s prime should always be aspirational and each rep helps.

“If you want to get really good at playing the piano, the only way to do that is by playing the piano, plain and simple,” he says. ”If you want to be a really good basketball shooter, you've got to take a lot of shots.”

His self-scouting report is thorough. So too is his advanced work. We talk about those in the industry. How he studies what they do as a means to make himself better.

“I look at Mike Breen as a legendary broadcaster,” Eagle explains. “What does he do? He doesn't say too much. He says exactly what needs to be said without going overboard. How can I take that and bring it to the radio? Adam Amin rises to the occasion every single time on a big play. How can I incorporate the way that he has risen and builds a moment? Kevin Kugler, who is just as consistent and as smooth as they come. What can I take from him and how he gets from point A to point B?”

He continues down the list, generous with his praise. For Jason Benetti’s expansive yet effortless vocabulary. For Mike Tirico’s ability to float between polished host and play-by-play. 

It may be a rote and obvious observation that he’s mature beyond his years and more poised than pretty much anyone still in the beginnings of their first post-collegiate job. But it really stands out. From the broad strokes to the minor details.

The TL;DR version of his tale would have you believe he fell into this, put at the front of the line without paying dues. Such a notion ignores the intensely serious care he puts into preparation and living up to what can be unreasonable expectations. 

That Noah would find himself on the cusp of a familiar career, that birds of a feather would flock together, is not a surprise. It didn’t just happen by magic, though. It takes a certain type of personality to embrace the spotlight and scrutiny that comes with it. 

He remembers a project in fifth-grade that crystalized his path. 

“We had to read a biography on any historical figure or celebrity,” Eagle explains. “I ended up getting assigned to Bill Gates and then you had to make a speech as if you were that person. And I went all in. Full method actor. I dressed up. Suit. Glasses. I had a big fake check that I was donating to the school. I think all that, I went a little bit above and beyond for a 10-year-old.”

After the presentation, Eagle’s teacher told him he might have a future in public speaking. He told her he wanted to be in the NBA. It turns out he merged the two. It’s a role he’s been studying for years both consciously and otherwise. 

“I’m incredibly thankful that [the Clippers] were confident enough to do that so my mentality is, well, I’m not going to let you down. Anybody who wants to get into broadcasting dreams of being the soundtrack for a championship. To have that opportunity this early is quite literally a dream come true. The biggest thing that I've learned is to enjoy everything I do and make a very conscious effort to enjoy everything I do, because that's what leads to more opportunity.”

A telltale sign Eagle is having fun in the moment is when one of his ubiquitous pop culture references makes the air. A Tupac lyric. An Along Came Polly reference.

The broadcaster says he’s always been a voracious consumer of movies, television, and music. And that he long ago realized their value in the editorial process.

“I've always been someone where I can hear a song once or twice and remember a lot of the lyrics,” he says. “I could watch something once or twice, and remember a lot of the lines. And so with that I just kind of store it up in my brain.”

Eagle was also tapped to provide play-by-play for the experimental Nickelodeon broadcast during the 2020 NFL playoffs, which garnered universal praise and speculation it would spawn exponentially more. While being sure to credit his on- and off-air partners for the experience, Eagle, who has done the Virtual Reality games, experimental summer league broadcasts, and the NBA Junior Championships, outlined how being new can offer great opportunity in addition to the pressure. 

“Nobody really knows how it's supposed to look or sound.”

The willingness to try new things, perhaps uncomfortable things like moving across the country to set history, has served Eagle well thus far. He’s going in the direction he wants, a self-admitted work in progress destined to have everyone wake up realizing that he made the transition from a really good young broadcaster to a really good broadcaster without anyone noticing.

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