There have been a lot of prominent sports media members lost in the last 12 months, and the latest one is Joe Tait. Tait called Cleveland Cavaliers radio broadcasts from their first year in 1970 through 1979, then from 1983 through his retirement in 2011; he also called Cleveland Indians radio broadcasts from 1973-79 and their TV broadcasts from 1980-87. As per Tom Withers of The Associated Press, Tait passed away at 83 Wednesday following a battle with kidney disease and liver cancer:
Joe Tait, a longtime Cleveland sports broadcaster and voice of the Cavaliers for more than four decades, died Wednesday. He was 83.
Tait had recently gone into hospice care following a lengthy batter with kidney disease and liver cancer.
“A friend and mentor to many over the years, Joe Tait wasn’t just a member of the Cavaliers family; he was a part of the Cavs story like no one else and his voice and unique, candid perspective reverberates throughout the team’s history,” the Cavs said in a statement. “He will be dearly missed.”
Tait was with the NBA team from its inception in 1970 until he retired in 2011, calling over 3,000 games. In his final season, the Cavs honored Tait with a commemorative banner that hangs alongside some of the team’s retired jersey numbers in the rafters of Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
Los Angeles Lakers’ forward LeBron James, who played for the Cavaliers from 2003-10 and 2014-18, tweeted a tribute to Tait Wednesday:
Rest In Paradise my friend!! You’ll be extremely missed here! ????https://t.co/uY76i2LpcF
— LeBron James (@KingJames) March 10, 2021
And many others chimed in with tributes:
“Price into the forecourt, on the right wing. Price over to Ehlo, hands the ball to Nance, wham with the right hand!”
The sounds of my youth. RIP, Joe Tait. A Cleveland treasure.
— Jason Lloyd (@ByJasonLloyd) March 10, 2021
Never forget sitting in the car with my Dad in a snowy Acme parking lot listening to the Cavs play the Jazz on a late December afternoon- Craig Ehlo hit the game winning 3 & Joe Tait belted out “Yes Virginia there is a Santa Claus… and he comes from Lubbock, Texas.” #RIPJoeTait pic.twitter.com/jvjqu2g6Jj
— McNeil (@Reflog_18) March 10, 2021
The Joe Tait “Yes, Virginia” call https://t.co/NM3J5yhudZ
— McNeil (@Reflog_18) March 10, 2021
Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus and he was the voice of the Cleveland Cavaliers…Joe Tait! The best radio broadcaster and most loyal to the Cavaliers. The man they call Eggs, will have a Omelet tonight in your honor. You done good Joe, enjoy your eternal rest.
— craig ehlo (@eggsehlo) March 11, 2021
The Cleveland Cavaliers mourn the passing of one of our beloved founding fathers and the original, long-time voice of the franchise – Joe Tait.
— Cleveland Cavaliers (@cavs) March 10, 2021
— Cleveland Indians (@Indians) March 10, 2021
RIP to Joe Tait. A man that I emulated in my backyard growing up when shooting hoops, to a man who was so huge in my development in this business. Always honest n sincere to me, and REAL! My heart hurts today as if I lost a family member.
— Andre Knott (@DreKnott) March 10, 2021
The Cavs were frustrating most of my childhood. Joe Tait on the radio made me love them more than any other team, and in turn, love Joe more than any other broadcaster.
— Ken Carman (@KenCarman) March 10, 2021
My column on the passing of Joe Tait:https://t.co/1GNyGp447t
— Terry Pluto (@terrypluto) March 10, 2021
So sad to hear the passing of another Cleveland legend Joe Tait. My dad (left) did radio for 30 years and did many shows with Joe throughout the years. He just shared this classic pic. Will never forget listening Joe call Cavs games growing up. pic.twitter.com/D4AwqjvFwn
— Dustin Fox (@DustinFox37) March 10, 2021
Terribly saddened by the passing of the legendary Joe Tait. No one in my 40 plus years as a broadcaster have I respected more, or held in higher regard than Joe. Spent 14 years together calling @cavs. The wonderful memories we shared will live forever. Much love, Joe. Miss you
— Michael Reghi (@MichaelReghi) March 10, 2021
RIP Joe Tait, Cleveland legend and kind, funny soul. You will be missed.
— Steve Kerr (@SteveKerr) March 11, 2021
— John Skrtic (@SkrticX) March 10, 2021
Tait will be missed by many, as those tributes show. Our thoughts go out to his family and friends.