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Marv Albert

Updated on September 21, 2014

Sportcaster Marv Albert

Marv Albert's 50 year sportscasting career has seen many highs and one very unfortunate low. Honored for his work as a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame, he is commonly referred to as "the voice of basketball." From 1967-2004, he was also known as "the voice of the New York Knicks." Additionally, Marv Albert has called some of sports largest events, including many Super Bowls, NBA Finals, Stanley Cup Finals and Wimbledon.

Public domain photo courtesy Celebgreat

Public domain photo courtesy Celebgreat

New York Career

For over 50 years beginning in 1967, Albert was the voice of the New York Knicks on radio and television (getting his start by being a ball boy for the Knicks before getting his first break on New York radio by sportscaster Marty Glickman) before being let go by the chairman of the MSG Network and Cablevision after Albert criticized the Knicks' poor play on-air in 2004.

In addition to the Knicks, Albert had a lengthy tenure (beginning in 1965) calling the games of another Madison Square Garden tenant, the New York Rangers. He handled the radio call of the Rangers' Stanley Cup-clinching victory in 1994.

He also famously coined the phrase "Red Light" for radio analyst Sal Messina, a former Rangers goaltender. His signature play-by-play phrase was "kick save and a beauty."

Over his years as the Rangers broadcaster, Albert would miss a large number of games for other commitments. Many other broadcasters filled in, including several who would serve long stints for other NHL teams, including Howie Rose, Mike Emrick and John Kelly, as well as brothers Al and Steve. It was Albert's absence from Game 7 of the Rangers-Devils Conference Championship game that led to Rose's famed Matteau, Matteau, Matteau call.

Albert left the Rangers after the 1994-95 season at the same time Rose took the job as play-by-play announcer of the New York Islanders. Albert's son, Kenny replaced him, and has been the radio voice of the Rangers ever since.

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Albert's Sports Bloopers

Marv has made countless appearances on the Late Show with David Letterman. Albert often brings his own version of sports bloopers such as this collection of clips.

Sexual Assault Charges

Albert became the focus of a media frenzy in 1997, when he went on trial for felony sexual assault. A 42-year-old woman who had had a 10-year sexual relationship with him accused Albert of throwing her on a bed at the Ritz-Carlton in Pentagon City, Virginia, biting her on the back 15 times as well as the sexual assault. Albert charged that the woman was seeking revenge as he was ending their relationship and "she couldn't imagine life without him". After DNA tests proved that the bite marks were his, he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault and battery charges, while the sodomy charge was dropped. Albert was given a 12-month suspended sentence. Consequently, NBC — for whom Albert worked for over 20 years — fired him shortly before the 1997-98 NBA season began. NBC brought Albert back less than two years later, and he was the network's main play-by-play man for the 2000–01 and 2001–02 NBA seasons, including the Finals. NBC lost the rights to the NBA to ABC following the 2001–02 season.

Current Employment

Albert continues to be the lead play-by-play announcer for National Basketball Association games on TNT, a position he assumed in 1999. Indeed, TNT has become his primary commitment ever since his longtime employer NBC lost the NBA broadcasting rights in 2002, and may have played a role in his departure from the Knicks' broadcast booth[citation needed]. The Knicks reportedly wanted Albert to accept a salary commensurate with his reduced Knicks schedule, but also weren't happy about Albert making what Knicks management felt were overly critical comments about their team in spite of their losing record.

In 2005, Albert officially became the lead play-by-play man for the New Jersey Nets franchise and started calling their games in the 2005-2006 basketball season on the YES Network, often teaming with Brooklyn native and NBA veteran, Mark Jackson. Beginning with the 2008-09 season, Albert was also paired with his TNT broadcast colleague Mike Fratello on the YES Network. However with the Nets struggling this season, the Nets management relegated Albert to secondary play-by-play, to avoid a similar incident while Albert was with the Knicks.

Awards and Accolades

  • Cable ACE Award - six times.
  • Curt Gowdy Media Award - awarded by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, 1994
  • Emmy Award - for national sports: five times; for New York: three times.
  • Nassau County Sports Hall of Fame - inducted in 2006.
  • National Jewish Museum Sports Hall of Fame - inducted in 1992.
  • New York State Sportscaster of the Year - twenty times.

Musings on Marv? - Feel free to muse here. Thanks for dropping by!

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    • greggbirkner profile image

      greggbirkner 5 years ago

      I really enjoyed over the years when Marv Albert would drop by David Letterman's show and narrate his sports bloopers. Really nice lens!