One of the NBA’s signature voices will return to the airwaves for this upcoming season. Marv Albert, who opted out of broadcasting from the league’s bubble setup in Orlando for the end of the regular season and NBA Playoffs will be back on the call for TNT.
But according to the New York Post‘s Andrew Marchand, Albert will broadcast remotely from a New York studio when the NBA tips off its 2020-21 season. Albert opted out of joining his TNT colleagues in Orlando when the league restarted the 2019-20 campaign after shutting down amid the COVID-19 pandemic, citing the higher risk of contracting the coronavirus for those 65 years or older. (Albert is 79 years old.)
At the time, Albert told the Post that he initially planned on broadcasting until WarnerMedia News and Sports chairman Jeff Zucker called him up and recommended that the broadcaster avoid the NBA bubble and the restarted season. Brian Anderson took Albert’s place on TNT’s NBA Playoffs telecasts, calling play-by-play with analysts Chris Webber and Reggie Miller. (Albert did provide some remote commentary, such as narrating his favorite NBA Conference Finals moments.)
Calling games remotely while watching a monitor isn’t entirely unfamiliar to Albert. He told Marchand that he’s done so for non-U.S. Olympic basketball telecasts, in addition to boxing and tennis events.
Albert is in the final year of his contract with Turner Sports. Whether or not he decides to retire or take on a lesser role with TNT has yet to be determined (or announced). But two years ago, there was already speculation that Turner would move Anderson up to the No. 1 play-by-play spot on its NBA broadcasts. (For those asking “Why not Kevin Harlan?” he has commitments calling NFL games for CBS and Westwood One that make the No. 2 gig a better fit.)
Beginning his career as the full-time broadcast voice for the New York Knicks in 1967, Albert eventually became the No. 1 play-by-play announcer for NBC’s NBA coverage in 1990 (with a three-year break from 1998 to 2000, due to a sexual assault scandal), then moved over to TNT as their lead announcer when NBC lost the NBA broadcast rights in 2002.