Meet Franco Finn – Warriors Hype Man and first Fil-Am to host in an NBA ALL STAR Weekend
Franco Finn is the booming voice that fans hear inside Chase Center and the Oakland Arena before that, during Golden State Warriors’ home games, whipping up the crowd into a frenzy that the team says always energizes them.
Finn is the first and only Filipino American and AAPI and the only one invited by the NBA to host two competitions at the All-Star Game.
Finn will serve as host for two of the events at the 2023 NBA ALL STAR WEEKEND in Salt Lake City, Utah: Rising Stars Challenge (Friday, Feb. 17) and the Slam Dunk Contest and 3-point Shooting Contest, Saturday, Feb. 18. The events will be telecast not just nationally, but also nternationally.
Finn’s journey is the story of an immigrant mother’s and her son’s boyhood dreams becoming reality. He was born, in 1977, two years after his widowed mother, Angeles Lucente, now 75 years old, immigrated to the U.S. His mother’s introduction to American culture was the game of basketball, and she quickly became a diehard Warriors fan.
Angeles watched the Warriors with Rick Barry winning a championship in San Francisco. Forty years later, in 2015, with her son, her only child, already part of the organization, the Warriors won another one, and 3 more after that in the succeeding 7 years.
Because everyone in the Warriors organization gets a ring when the team wins a championship, Finn has 3 more championship rings than LeBron James, and 4 more than Warrior unFan, Charles Barkley, who has zero NBA Championship rings.
Now, some 4 days away from enjoying what he sees as the highest recognition he will have received in his career, Finn talks about how he has always seen himself as “some sort of host or on-camera talent.” He has also “dreamed of being a game-show host one day, like Pat Sajak, Bob Barker, etc.” This vision for himself never went away; he even earned a degree in Communications from Santa Clara University.
How the Warriors discovered him and became their Hype man is a story in itself, a story of destiny. As Finn tells it:
“I had been working in radio for a station called Radio Disney for many years and I was at a Hillary Duff concert in Oakland. But Hillary didn’t have a front act, and so, as the radio personality, I had to get the crowd hyped for 20+ minutes or so, right before Hillary took to the stage. I got the sold out crowd hyped up and afterwards, the Warriors execs backstage offered me to audition the next season to be their in-arena host, and then the rest is history. This was back in 2002.”
Finn also works for Alaska Airlines by day as its Community Activations main guy for company function and events. He also does freelance work, voice over and acting jobs when they come. He is currently hosting a segment on KRON 4 and has a TV travel series called “Franco on the Fly.” Finn is also a professional auctioneer and does many fundraisers and manages his own production company.
What would he do for a second career if and when this dream job with the Warriors ends? “My second career would be perhaps a full time TV personality, a familiar face and voice for all things in the community,” he says. “Basically a local TV personality consistently here in the Bay Area for one of the major stations. Also another passion of mine is serving San Francisco and my city.”
His message to his fellow Filipino Americans, Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders:
“Listen, you know, this sport is, you know, more than a sport. Like I say, I want to tell the folks out there that there are opportunities here in theStates and around the world for us to have our voices heard. We are very talented, we’re humble, hardworking people. And you know what, that work
ethic will always be with me till the day I die because that’s what my mom and my family taught me- hard values, hard work, the family connection, and I’m just gonna bring it wherever I go.
“So, for the future out there, future husband, women, kids out there, you can do it, too. You can dream it. You can be on the court with Steph Curry one day. You can put your mind to it. You never know where
you will end up because you have the capabilities now more than ever to share your voice and your talents.”