Legendary broadcaster Marv Albert will retire at the conclusion of the 2020-21 NBA season, according to the New York Post.
Such a phrase surely gets used too often, but this truly is the end of an era in sports broadcasting. Albert, 80, had called NBA telecasts for Turner Sports for the past 22 seasons and broadcasted professional basketball for 59 years.
With Albert’s retirement and Turner agreeing to part ways with analyst Chris Webber, TNT’s top broadcast crew will indeed have a different look next season, a development that had been rumored for months. Albert’s contract was set to expire after this season. He began the 2020-21 campaign broadcasting remotely after opting out of last season’s bubble setting in Orlando, Florida due to the higher risk of contracting COVID-19 for people 65 years or older.
The Post‘s Andrew Marchand and Phil Mushnick report that Turner executives have been contacting NBA teams to prepare tributes for the veteran broadcaster during the upcoming NBA Playoffs in anticipation of his retirement. The network and Albert are expected to make a formal announcement soon, presumably sometime next week. The league’s play-in tournament to determine each conference’s final two playoff seeds tips off on May 18, while the playoffs begin May 22.
Who Albert’s broadcast partner will be with Webber leaving TNT has yet to be determined. Reggie Miller called Thursday’s Heat-76ers game alongside Albert and is the most likely replacement. But Jim Jackson and Grant Hill are also believed to be candidates for the spot.
Which broadcaster will succeed Albert in TNT’s No. 1 play-by-play role is also a question, though Turner has several replacements ready. Brian Anderson is reportedly considered to be the favorite among Turner executives, but Kevin Harlan and Ian Eagle are also strong candidates and would be popular with viewers.
Albert, best known for his signature “Yes!” call, began his acclaimed career as the full-time broadcast voice for the New York Knicks in 1967. He eventually became the No. 1 play-by-play announcer for NBC’s NBA coverage in 1990 (though took a three-year break from 1998 to 2000, due to a sexual assault scandal) and moved to TNT as that network’s top broadcaster when NBC lost the NBA broadcast rights to Turner in 2002.
Though Albert is known primarily for his basketball broadcasting, he was the sports director at New York’s WNBC from 1975 to 1987. He also called several other sports during his 60 years at the mic, including New York Rangers games off and on for 30 years from 1965 to 1995, boxing (including Olympics bouts), horse racing, and hosted NBC’s Major League Baseball studio coverage.
Additionally, Albert called NFL games for many years. At NBC, he was the network’s No. 2 play-by-play broadcaster throughout the 1980s and into the 1990s. From 1973 to 1976, he announced New York Giants radio broadcasts for three seasons and was the radio voice for Westwood One’s Monday Night Football broadcasts from 2002 to 2009. Albert also called NFL telecasts for CBS from 2011 to 2014.