After being let go by the Phoenix Suns in 2018, former general manager Ryan McDonough has stepped away from the front office aspect of the NBA and introduced himself to the world of broadcast.
McDonough was hired as the Suns general manager in May 2013. He earned himself a contract extension four years later that would have him working for the Suns through the 2019-20 season. However, McDonough was let go before finishing his contract.
Leading up to his release, McDonough made some questionable decisions as a general manager. For example, several top 10 draft picks selected by McDonough such as Alex Len, Josh Jackson, Marquese Chriss and Dragan Bender never panned out. Still, McDonough has never allowed the criticism of these decisions to affect his work ethic or how he went about his job.
“To be a GM, to be a head coach, to be a player in the NBA or pro sports, you got to have thick skin,” McDonough said. “Jeff Van Gundy had a great line that stuck with me after I left the Suns that’s so true. Only take criticism from somebody that you would take advice from.”
With several critics taking aim at the former GM over the course of the last few years, McDonough has learned to block out the noise and move forward with his career. However, his new job is no longer in the front office of a sports team—it’s behind a microphone.
McDonough’s Path to Broadcasting
McDonough is currently doing broadcast work with Radio.com, a company that hired him away from his previous employers at SiriusXM.
Since 2018, McDonough has kept busy in the broadcast world. He’s worked for ESPN, NBA.TV, and Yahoo Sports since his tenure ended with the Suns. Currently, McDonough is doing what he can to work from home in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, which includes co-hosting the Scal and Pals radio talk show alongside former NBA player Brian Scalabrine.
McDonough originally went to college in North Carolina to be a broadcaster. He said he never had envisioned himself being an NBA GM. After working in the Boston Celtics video room, building front office experience for a decade, he was hired with the Suns as the general manager.
“You never know what’s going to stick, or when opportunities are going to come or go,” McDonough said. “It’s kind of fun now after 15 years in NBA front offices, to come full circle and be on the broadcast side.”
With over a decade and a half of NBA front office experience, McDonough appreciates how difficult it is to be a general manager. He takes this appreciation into account moving into the broadcast side of sports and never makes anything personal.
“What I do from a broadcast standpoint is just point out what the teams were thinking,” McDonough said, “I wouldn’t attack anyone […] that’s not what its about.”
McDonough’s journey into broadcast has entailed gaining a great amount of experience within the business of the NBA. Ultimately, this helps him with his newfound career in radio. However, the former GM has yet to rule out a return to an NBA front office.
“It was a great ride,” McDonough said. “I may do it again someday at some level.”