Joe Tait stood with his back against the wall Tuesday, taking friendly fire from a band of male journalists who were there to celebrate his successes and not lob verbal broadsides the man's way.
But what criticism could any of them level at the easy-going Tait, the longtime radio voice of the Cavaliers?
"How much longer are you going to do this?" one of them asked.
"Do this?" said Tait, a wry smile accompanying his words. "I don't wanna do this ever again."
No, he didn't misunderstand the man's question. He was just playing Joe Tait, the quick-witted play-by-play guy who was fielding questions about his selection as the 2010 winner of the Curt Gowdy Media Award.
He was having fun with it all, even as he basked in this semi-serious moment, a moment that Tait looked as comfortable in as Shaquille O'Neal riding coach. Self-effacing as Tait was, he endured it more than enjoyed it. He would have preferred to have been behind the mike than to have a half-dozen of them shoved in his face.
It was Tait's work behind the microphone, however, that has brought Tait his acclaim, and he is famous here, surprisingly so for an announcer in a sports market as small as Cleveland is. This gig has been good to him. He's held it for 38 years, longer than any player on the team's roster, aside from Shaquille O'Neal, has been alive.
And if you ask Cavaliers fans, they want Joe Tait to keep announcing the games for another 38 years. His voice has been as reassuring to them as Ernie Harwell's was to Tigers fans and as Vin Scully's is to Dodgers fans.
Announcing might be the only thing that God put Tait on this earth to do, and he does it for the same reason that many people who are good at something do it: "Money," he said. "The need for it."
He drew laughter with those words. He sounded serious when he said them, and it's hard to dispute the value of money. Bills do have to be paid, right?