Albert calls a game for TNT in December 2008.
Marvin Philip Aufrichtig
June 12, 1941
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
|Education||New York University and Syracuse University|
|Children||4; including Kenny|
|Sports commentary career|
|Sports||Basketball, American football, Ice hockey, Boxing|
Marv Albert (born Marvin Philip Aufrichtig; June 12, 1941) is an American sportscaster. 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 to 2004, he was also known as "the voice of the New York Knicks". Albert currently works for Turner Sports, serving as lead announcer for NBA games on TNT.
In addition to calling both professional and college basketball, he has experience announcing other sports such as American football, ice hockey, horse racing, boxing, and tennis. Albert has called the play-by-play of eight Super Bowls, NBA Finals, and seven Stanley Cup Finals. He has also called the Wimbledon Tennis Championships for TNT with Jim Courier and Mary Carillo. He also worked as a co-host and reporter for two World Series (1986 and 1988)
Albert was born to a Jewish family in Brooklyn, where he went to Abraham Lincoln High School. While Albert grew up, members of his family owned a grocery store on Brighton Beach Avenue between 3rd and 4th streets known as Aufrichtig's. He then attended Syracuse University's Newhouse School of Public Communications from 1960 through 1963. In 1962, he served as the voice of the AAA Syracuse Chiefs. He then graduated from New York University in 1965.
Marv did his first Knicks game on January 27, 1963 over WCBS Radio. He filled in for his mentor, Marty Glickman who was away in Europe. The game was against the Celtics at the Boston Garden.For 37 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 James L. Dolan, the chairman of the MSG Network and Cablevision, after Albert criticized the Knicks' poor play on-air in 2004.It was said that Marv's high salary was also a factor. His son Kenny Albert has been a part-time play-by-play announcer for the Knicks since 2009, whenever the older Albert's successor Mike Breen (whom he later followed on the NBA on NBC broadcasts and now works on ESPN and ABC aside from his role at MSG) is unavailable.
For a brief period before he resumed his normal broadcasting duties following his sexual assault arrest (see below), Albert anchored MSG's former nightly sports news report, MSG SportsDesk.
Marv Albert was the lead play-by-play broadcaster for the NBA on NBC for most of its run from 1990 to 2002, calling every NBA Finals during that timeframe except for 1998, 1999, and 2000. During this time, Bob Costas had taken over the lead job and called the Finals after Marv's arrest for sexual assault had brought him national disgrace. Marv resumed his previous position for the 2000–2001 season and called Game 4 of the 2002 NBA Finals which was the final NBA telecast on NBC. During his time on NBC, Albert continued as lead play-by-play man for the New York Knicks on local MSG Network telecasts and began calling national games for TNT in 1999 as well. When he regained the lead broadcaster position on NBC, he continued to call play-by-play for both networks until the end of NBC's coverage in 2002.
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. 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 basketball, his most famous call is his simple "Yes!" for a basket, rendered in many variations of volume and length depending on the situation; and a catchphrase that he began using in his youth when playing pickup games with friends.
On April 17, 2002, shortly after calling a game between the Indiana Pacers and Philadelphia 76ers on TNT, both Albert and color analyst Mike Fratello were injured in a limo accident in Trenton, New Jersey. Albert sustained facial lacerations, a concussion, and a sprained ankle. The 2002 NBA Playoffs were set to begin two days later, with Albert scheduled to call multiple games that week. Bob Costas filled in those games and Albert returned to call Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals between the Dallas Mavericks and Sacramento Kings.
In 2018, Sports Broadcast Journal speculated that Albert might be the first network play-by-play broadcaster to continue into his 80s, Will Marv Albert be the first network play-by-play announcer to call games into his 80s
In 2005, Albert officially became the lead play-by-play man for the New Jersey Nets franchise and started calling their games on the YES Network, often teaming with Brooklyn native and NBA veteran, Mark Jackson. With that, the Nets employed all three Albert brothers during the franchise's history; Al started his broadcast career with the Nets during their ABA days, while Steve called Nets games during the late 1970s and 1980s. 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' struggles in the 2009–10 season, Nets management relegated Albert to secondary play-by-play, to avoid a similar incident while Albert was with the Knicks. Since then Ian Eagle has taken over the broadcasts. In 2011, Albert left the YES Network to join CBS Sports for NFL and NCAA tournament coverage.
From 2011 to 2015, Albert announced NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship tournament games, the result of longtime tournament broadcaster CBS handing off some of its coverage to Turner Sports.
In February 2016, Albert and Turner Sports announced that he would no longer call NCAA Tournament basketball games, stating that calling four games in one day during the first round, and a total of six matches in three days during the first two rounds, was too much for his 74-year-old voice to handle. Albert said that he "felt it was the wiser move to go primarily NBA at this stage".
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 nickname "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 missed a large number of games for other commitments. Many other broadcasters filled in, including several who later served 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. Kenny also calls NHL and Olympic ice hockey for NBC Sports, while also serving as the national radio voice of the Stanley Cup Finals since 2016.
Albert was also the lead play-by-play voice of the Westwood One radio network's NFL coverage from 2002 to 2009 seasons, calling Monday Night Football as well as numerous playoff games and every Super Bowl from 2003 to 2010. On June 4, 2010, it was announced that Albert was leaving his NFL on Westwood One duties. He was succeeded on the broadcasts by Kevin Harlan.
On May 29, 2014, Albert stepped down from calling The NFL on CBS to focus more on his basketball duties for TNT and CBS.
Other NBC Sports duties that Albert held were play-by-play announcing for the NFL (by 1983, Albert was the #2 play-by-play man behind Dick Enberg, usually alternating the secondary NFL role year to year with Don Criqui), college basketball (teaming with Bucky Waters on Big East/ECAC games), horse racing, boxing (often working with Ferdie Pacheco and subsequently, Sugar Ray Leonard when NBC relaunched boxing under the Premier Boxing Champions umbrella), NHL All-Star Games (Albert called the NHL All-Star Game with John Davidson on NBC from 1990-1994), and Major League Baseball, as well as hosting baseball studio and pre-game shows (including NBC's coverage of the 1986 and 1988 World Series alongside Bob Costas). He also spent 13 years as the sports director of the network's flagship station, WNBC-TV in New York.
Albert also called regular-season and playoff NHL games for the syndicated NHL Network in the 1976–77 season, and from 2000 to 2002 he helped call TNT's coverage of the Wimbledon Championships tennis tournament.
Albert made 126 guest appearances on David Letterman's late night talk shows for NBC and CBS. Each time Albert appeared, he brought with him a group of clips featuring sports bloopers and outstanding plays, which he narrated and dubbed the "Albert Achievement Awards". The music accompanying the bloopers was "12th Street Rag".
Albert was placed as number 14 on David J. Halberstam's list of Top 50 All Time Network Television Sports Announcers on Yahoo! Sports.
Albert became the first guest commentator in MTV's Celebrity Deathmatch cartoon series. He appeared in the 1998 pilot episode before being replaced with Stacey Cornbred.
Albert was briefly mentioned in the 2006 film Grandma's Boy.
Albert’s voice is imitated in Pinky and the Brain, in the season 2, episode "Hoop Schemes" in 1997.
He authored (with Rick Reilly) an autobiography, I'd Love to But I Have a Game, in 1993.
Albert's son, Kenny, is also a sports commentator, who calls baseball and football for Fox, New York Rangers games on the radio, and has been one of NBC's commentators for ice hockey at the Winter Olympics, as well as NBC's NHL coverage. His daughter, Denise, is a reporter for NBA TV.
Marv has two younger brothers who also are announcers. Steve Albert was the Phoenix Suns play-by-play announcer before his retirement following the 2016-17 season, and has also called play-by-play for several other teams, including the New Orleans Hornets, New Jersey Nets, New York Islanders, New York Mets, and Golden State Warriors. Steve is best known for his work on Showtime Championship Boxing, notably the Holyfield–Tyson bouts. Al Albert was the former play-by-play announcer for the New York Nets (ABA), USA Tuesday Night Fights, the Indiana Pacers and the Denver Nuggets. Al also called national NBA games on the USA Network during its brief tenure in the early 1980s.
Albert became embroiled in a sex scandal in 1997. A 42-year-old woman named Vanessa Perhach accused Albert of throwing her on a bed, biting her, and forcing her to perform oral sex after a February 12, 1997 argument in his Pentagon City hotel room. DNA testing linked Albert to genetic material taken from the bite marks and from semen in Perhach's underwear. During the trial, testimony was presented from another woman, Patricia Masden, who told the jury that Albert had bitten her on two different occasions in 1993 and 1994 in Miami and Dallas hotels, which she viewed as unwanted sexual advances. Masden claimed that in Dallas, Albert called her to his hotel room to help him send a fax, only for her to find him wearing "white panties and garter belt". Albert maintained that Perhach had requested that he bite her and denied her accusation that he'd asked her to bring another man into their sexual affair. He described the recorded conversation of hers with the police on the night of the incident as "an Academy Award performance". After 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 which Albert worked for over 20 years – fired him shortly before the 1997–98 NBA season began on The NBA on NBC. Bob Costas took over for Albert on the basketball side in the 1997–98 season before stepping down after the 2000 NBA Finals for Albert's return. In addition, Tom Hammond spelled his football duties. It is also revealed on a Simpsons DVD commentary that he was to appear in the episode "Bart Star" but, due to the scandal, was replaced by Roy Firestone.
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 (working with Doug Collins and later Bill Walton and Steve Jones respectively). NBC lost the rights to the NBA to ABC following the 2001–02 season.