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Marv Albert Talks About His Life In Broadcasting

Jason Barrett

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There may no sportscaster in history who has better combined all the necessary ingredients — voice, knowledge, presence, style, timing, wit, humor — than Marv Albert. The man is a national treasure, and he is still going strong.

Albert, 74, is entering his 18th season calling NBA games for TNT and nearing 50. The eight-time Emmy Award winner, Curt Gowdy Media Award winner (through the Basketball Hall of Fame) and National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association Hall of Famer has done just about everything through his 50-year career, but his heart is with pro basketball.

The Brooklyn native recently stopped calling games for the NFL and the NCAA basketball tournament — “had to drop something,” he says — but is doing one or two TNT games a week through the NBA season. Albert also is calling prime-time boxing for NBC once a month.

Marv isn’t the only Albert to make his mark in sportscasting. Brother Al has been television voice of the Denver Nuggets and Indiana Pacers. Brother Steve is currently TV voice of the Phoenix Suns. Son Kenny works New York Rangers’ games on radio as well as play-by-play for FOX’s NFL and major league baseball coverage.

I caught up with Marv shortly before he boarded a plane in his native New York bound for Portland, where he will call the Trail Blazers’ Thursday night matchup with Memphis at Moda Center.

“From New York to Portland is like going to Czechoslovakia,” he cracks. “Portland is one of my favorite stops. I love the vibe of the city, but it’s such a long ride.”

Our Q&A:

Tribune: So many media personalities go by stage names. Your real given name is Marvin Philip Aufrichtig. When did you change it and why?

Albert: I changed it as I entered Syracuse. My brothers Al and Steve did, too. Aufrichtig was a little unwieldy. My parents agreed. An aunt of ours who I’m very close to — she’s still doing well in her 90s — convinced my father it would be a good idea.

Tribune: Your family owned a grocery story in Brooklyn when you were growing up. What led you into broadcasting?

Albert: That was all I wanted to do, for whatever reason. I was interested in writing, too, so it was either sportscasting or sportswriting. In high school, I’d turn the sound down on the TV and call the game. I was able to get access to college games at Madison Square Garden. I’d bring my tape recorder and get a spot in the high press box area and do the games.

Tribune: What’s it like to be part of sportscasting’s first family?

Albert: We all annoy each other, basically. Al and Steve got interested in it because they saw how much I was enjoying it. At first, they worked for me in writing and production. As they progressed, they became very good at it. Then my son, Kenny, picked it up. I have a daughter, Denise, who writes a mom’s blog that has led to lots of TV, and she has a radio show on Sirius.

Tribune: Where did your signature call “Yes!” come from?

Albert: From the great old referee Sid Borgia, who should be in the Hall of Fame and will be eventually. He was very theatrical, an animated official in the style of today’s Joe Crawford. A player would score and get fouled, and Sid would yell, “Yes, and it counts!” When I was growing up, a friend would use the phrase during our schoolyard games. After I started doing the Knicks, it just happened to seep in one day. I remember the play — a Dick Barnett fall-back baby jump shot that banked in during a playoff game vs. Philadelphia. For whatever reason, it caught on. I’m very judicial about using it. It has to be a certain type of shot. I make that judgment a split-second decision.

Tribune: You recently worked a pair of boxing matches on NBC with Bob Costas and Al Michaels. Wasn’t that a lot of gray matter to have in one room?

Albert: All three of us are from New York. Al and I have been very friendly over the years but had never worked together. It was fun. When I go to Los Angeles, my wife and I get together with Al and his wife. Bob lives a couple of blocks from me in New York, so we get together occasionally.

Tribune: What’s your favorite sport to work?

Albert: Easily the NBA. It’s not even close. I’ve always loved football and have done a lot of that and hockey over the years. But the NBA has always been my favorite, and it’s better than ever now.

Tribune: Greatest game you ever called?

Albert: I think more in moments. I was fortunate enough to be part of the era where NBC was calling Michael Jordan’s games. The move he made switching hands against the Lakers. The six 3’s against Portland in the playoffs. Doing the “Dream Team” in ’92. They were the greatest group ever assembled in a team sport. It was chilling to see that particular group of players. And very early in my career, the Willis Reed moment for the Knicks in Game 7 in 1970. The game itself was a blowout, but everything leading up to it for their first-ever championship was unforgettable. I did the Knicks broadcast on the radio. There was no live TV. We got one of the all-time highest radio ratings.

Tribune: What’s the assignment you’ve enjoyed the least?

Albert: At one point early in my career at NBC, they thought I should do track and field. I wasn’t really qualified. I gave it a shot, but I didn’t feel comfortable. It was a wonderful assignment, but it wasn’t for me. I always feel you have to know your limitations. I knew it early in track and field.

Tribune: You mentioned you like Portland. Why?

Albert: It is a terrific place to do games. The way the crowd is, particularly in the really good years … it’s unbelievable to sit there. It feels like a college atmosphere. The fans are so close to the court. And the people — everybody is so nice.

Tribune: When you get away from sports, what is your favorite pastime?

Albert: I read a lot. My wife and I are movie and theater goers. I used to play a lot of tennis, but I’ve pulled back on that. I still work out. You have to stay healthy. Being in New York, you have a lot of choices of things to do.

Tribune: How much longer do you want to keep broadcasting?

Albert: As long I feel I can stay at this level. I’ll know if I am ready to stop. The travel is still OK, because I read a lot on the plane. Usually when guys give it up, travel is the reason. I’m in good shape. I feel as long as you’re hearing the same broadcast you usually do, it’s fine.

To read the full article visit the Portland Tribune where it was originally published

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Howie Schwab, Longtime ESPN Producer and Feature of ‘Stump the Schwab’, Dies

Many former ESPN colleagues, and those in the sports media at large, paid homage to Schwab’s memory after the announcement of his passing.

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A photo of Howie Schwab
(Photo: ESPN)

Longtime ESPN researcher and feature of the mid-2000s ESPN game show Stump the Schwab Howie Schwab has died.

Schwab joined ESPN in 1987 after serving as the editor-in-chief of College & Pro Football News Weekly. He then worked as a producer for ESPN.com before joining ESPN’s studio production team, working on shows like Outside the Lines and SportsCenter.

In 2004, ESPN launched a sports trivia game show — Stump the Schwab — hosted by Stuart Scott, which pitted contestants against Schwab in a test of sports knowledge. The program ran for four seasons, featuring 80 episodes in total, before ending in 2006.

Howie Schwab was part of widespread layoffs at ESPN in 2013. He then worked on Sports Jeopardy! alongside Dan Patrick as a writer beginning in 2014, and also briefly spent time at FOX Sports after his departure from ESPN.

Many former ESPN colleagues, and those in the sports media at large, paid homage to Schwab’s memory after the announcement of his passing.

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Report: ESPN Seems Likely to Renew NFL Draft Media Rights

ESPN has been broadcasting the NFL Draft since 1980.

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ESPN Logo, ESPN NFL Studio Bristol Headquarters

ESPN has been the broadcast home of the NFL Draft since 1980, and the property has become one of the network’s hallmark events within its overall coverage of the National Football League. Analyst Mel Kiper Jr. will return on the airwaves this year for the broadcast of the event, which will include separate feeds on ABC and ESPN on Thursday night.

ESPN has had the rights to the event for several years and attained improvements in ratings with an average of approximately 9.73 million viewers across networks on Day 1 last year. As a whole, the NFL Draft attained a total, unduplicated audience of 54.4 million viewers over the course of the three days on ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Deportes, NFL Network and additional digital platforms, and will make its return next Wednesday from Detroit, Mich.

John Ourand of Puck News reported that the deal for ESPN to broadcast the NFL Draft will expire in 2025. Within his report, he noted that ESPN is likely to renew its deal with the league, but other media companies could be interested in exploring potentially assuming the property. Some of the companies Ourand includes within his report are FOX, NBC and perhaps Amazon.

ESPN announced its plans for coverage of the 2024 NFL Draft earlier in the week, which will include two broadcasts on ESPN and ABC for the first two days. This year’s draft class contains several top-tier college quarterbacks who will be looking to make an impact at the NFL level, including USC star Caleb Williams. The Chicago Bears hold the first-overall pick for the 2024 NFL Draft and are projected by several insiders to select Williams after trading away quarterback Justin Fields earlier in the offseason.

ESPN and NFL Network will bring back a crossover element to the NFL Draft broadcast this year, something that both entities collaborated on in 2020 and 2023. On Tuesday, April 16, Kiper Jr. will appear on NFL Network for NFL Total Access. ESPN NFL insider Field Yates will appear on NFL Network Wednesday, April 17 for Path to the Draft while NFL Network analyst Steve Smith Sr. appears on SportsCenter. Both programs will last from 6 to 7 p.m. EST on their respective networks. Mina Kimes will appear on Move the Sticks Thursday, April 18 on NFL Network, while Kurt Warner and Daniel Jeremiah will be on Get Up and NFL Live, respectively, the following day.

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NBA TV Announces Playoff Coverage, Gus Johnson to Call Game 2 of Pacers-Bucks

Coverage of games throughout the NBA Playoffs on NBA TV will include pregame, halftime and studio coverage as well.

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NBA TV Logo
(Illustration) Courtesy: National Basketball Association, Warner Bros. Discovery

Warner Bros. Discovery has announced coverage plans for the first round of the National Basketball Association Playoffs on NBA TV, which includes back-to-back nights of live game broadcasts beginning on Monday, April 22. The Orlando Magic and Cleveland Cavaliers will face off from Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland, Ohio featuring play-by-play announcer Kevin Calabro, analyst Brendan Haywood and sideline reporter Lauren Jbara. This will mark Jbara’s playoff debut with NBA TV, which comes after officially joining TNT Sports last fall. Calabro, Haywood and Jbara will also return on Thursday, April 25 at 7 p.m. EST for Game 3 between the Magic and Cavaliers from Kia Center in Orlando, Fla.

The second game of the series between the Indiana Pacers and Milwaukee Bucks will be presented on NBA TV at 8:30 p.m. EST and features the return of Gus Johnson behind the microphone for playoff action. Johnson, who serves as the lead play-by-play voice for college football and college basketball coverage for FOX Sports, will work with Jim Jackson and Dennis Scott on the call from Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, Wisc.

Over the course of the 2023-24 NBA season, Johnson filled in on select New York Knicks game telecasts on MSG Networks, where he previously served as an announcer and studio host for 16 years. Coverage of games throughout the NBA Playoffs on NBA TV will include pregame, halftime and studio coverage as well.

NBA TV could televise up to nine games throughout the 2024 NBA Playoffs depending on the outcomes of the individual series. Star players such as Paolo Banchero, Damian Lillard, Tyrese Haliburton and Donovan Mitchell are expected to participate across the matchups. The league-owned broadcast entity jointly managed by the NBA and Warner Bros. Discovery is coming off its most-viewed season since 2015-16.

TNT Sports will also present playoff games on TNT and available to stream utilizing the B/R Sports Add-On through Max. Coverage will conclude with the Western Conference Finals with a spot to compete for the Larry O’Brien Trophy in the balance.

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