By Barry Janoff
August 23, 2013: Bo Jackson has become part of sports legend due to the athletic prowess he displayed as a running back in the NFL and concurrently as an outfielder and hitter in MLB.
Marv Albert has gone beyond Bo. Since the mid-1960s, Albert's voice and expertise has been associated with the NBA, NFL, NHL, college basketball, tennis and a myriad of other sports.
Albert, 72, is now entering his third season with CBS Sports as a play-by-play announcer for The NFL on CBS. His sportscasting dates back to when he was the voice of the New York Knicks (TV and radio) from 1967-2004 (including the team's only two NBA titles: 1969-70, 1972-73). He also was the voice of the NHL's New York Rangers (1965-1995) and the New Jersey (now Brooklyn) Nets (2005-2010). He did the NBA on NBC from 1990-2002 and the NFL on NBC from 1977-1997. He has called Super Bowls, NBA Finals and Stanley Cup Finals.
In addition to doing regional NFL games for CBS (he is teamed this season with ex-NFL quarterback Rich Gannon), Albert has called the NBA for TNT since 2003 (he has been with Turner Sports since 1999) and NCAA March Madness for CBS and Turner since the two media companies unveiled joint coverage in 2001. His brothers, Steve and Al, also are sports announcers, as is his son, Kenny.
In 1997, Albert was awarded the Curt Gowdy Media Award by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. In May, 2010, he did a one-on-one interview with President Barack Obama on the basketball court located at the White House as part of TNT's coverage of the Western Conference finals.
His signature phrase, heard after a player scores a basket and is fouled on the play: "YESSS . . . And it counts!" Which in some cases has morphed into, "YESSS . . . And the foul!"
NYSportsJournalism spoke with Albert about the NFL, the Super Bowl, the 2013-14 NBA season, the rivalry between the Knicks and Brooklyn Nets and which NBA teams have the best chance to dethrone the two-time defending champion Miami Heat.
NYSportsJournalism.com: What are you seeing as far as the 2013 NFL season?
Marv Albert: First, I hope no one else gets hurt during the pre-season and is out for the season! It seems that over the past couple of years that unfortunately has been the case. It's going to be a great year. I hate to predict the Super Bowl because I'm rarely correct. [Laughs.] If Peyton Manning stays healthy the Denver Broncos will be really intriguing, And the San Francisco 49ers. It's rare when a team makes it to the Super Bowl and then comes back the next year. But they have a shot. And I also like the Seattle Seahawks.
NYSJ: Are you hearing any extra buzz yet because Super Bowl XLVIII is in MetLife Stadium and it will encompass New York in the winter?
MA: It's a bit too early. But the major question is about the weather. Hopefully it won't be so bad that it impacts the game. In the old days, there were NFL championship games outdoors in the winter and people froze. Yankee Stadium (1958, 1962, the latter with temperatures below 10 degrees and the wind blowing at 35 mph), Green Bay (1961 with game-day temperature below 20 degrees), Chicago (1963, with the temperature at 9 degrees). It's a tough way to watch a game. But people would bring blankets, drink hot coffee or whatever, and sit through it. For Super Bowl [XLVIII], the scene around it will be amazing.
NYSJ: Do you see colder-weather teams who play outdoors having an advantage if they make it to the Super Bowl?
MA: There is some concern on how the weather would impact the teams. If it's a team from a good-weather city, say the West Coast, Florida — I don't know if San Diego, Tampa Bay, Jacksonville or Miami have a shot, though — that might make it difficult for them. The New England Patriots are already outdoors in the winter, or even the Chicago Bears. Maybe they do have an advantage. You can't put the Minnesota Vikings in the mix because they play indoors.
NYSJ: The New York Giants and Jets already play in MetLife, so would they have even more of an advantage?
MA: If either of them make it . . .
NYSJ: Looking at the upcoming NBA season, what do you think about the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets, who signed Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry during the off-season, both teams of which you have historical ties?
MA: The Nets have done a tremendous job. If you look at the Knicks and Nets, that could be the best rivalry in the NBA. Both are playoff teams. Both want to be the best team in New York. They are spending money and there is a lot on the line. With the Nets, the only thing they may have to work out is that their roster will be so deep there are too many guys they have to giving playing time to. Of course, you would rather have a very strong eight-man rotation than not have guys on whom you can depend and give quality playing time to. Look at how many other would love to be in the position that the Nets are in.
NYSJ: You remember a time when there were player-coaches in the NBA: Dave DeBusschere, Lenny Wilkins and Bill Russell, among others. Do you think Jason Kidd, who retired weeks before become the Nets new head coach, would ever consider putting himself into a game?
MA: [Laughs.] Bill Russell had Bill Russell to put in as a player. Times have changed. There is always going to be someone better on the bench than a guy who has retired from active play.
"The Nets have done a tremendous job. The Knicks-Nets could be the best rivalry in the NBA. Both are playoff teams. Both want to be the best in New York."
NYSJ: Is it still the Miami Heat's NBA title to lose, or is the crowd going to catch them?
MA: If you have LeBron James, you have a good opportunity to win the NBA title. But the Chicago Bulls will be strong with Derek Rose coming back. The Nets certainly have a shot. The Indiana Pacers are very good. In the Eastern Conference, those are the top four. The Knicks will make the playoffs, but then we'll have to see what happens.
NYSJ: What about in the Western Conference?
MA: If the Los Angeles Lakers make the playoffs, it would be a nice season for them. The Oklahoma City Thunder will be back. We'll have to see how the Houston Rockets do with Dwight Howard. The San Antonio Spurs will be very good. The Denver Nuggets [and] Memphis Grizzlies will be good. The best thing: The NBA season is just around the corner.
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