Albert calls a game for TNT in December 2008
Marvin Philip Aufrichtig
June 12, 1941
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
New York University
|Children||4, including Kenny|
|Sports commentary career|
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 as the lead announcer for NBA games on TNT.
In addition to working extensively in both professional and college basketball, he has experience calling a variety of other sports, such as American football, ice hockey, horse racing, boxing, and tennis. Albert has called the play-by-play of eight Super Bowls, nine NBA Finals, and seven Stanley Cup Finals. He has also called the Wimbledon Tennis Championships for TNT with Jim Courier and Mary Carillo and has 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. His family members owned a grocery store on Brighton Beach Avenue between 3rd and 4th Streets known as Aufrichtig. He 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 graduated from New York University in 1965.
Albert worked his first Knicks game on January 27, 1963, on WCBS Radio, filling in for his mentor, Marty Glickman, who was away in Europe. The game was against the Celtics at the Boston Garden. Beginning in 1967 and lasting 37 years, Albert served as 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 from sportscaster Marty Glickman) before being let go by James L. Dolan, the chairman of the MSG Network and Cablevision, after Albert criticized the team's poor play on-air in 2004. It was said that Albert'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, filling in whenever the elder Albert's successor, Mike Breen, is unavailable.
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, which were called by Bob Costas in the wake of Albert's arrest for sexual assault. Albert 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 the 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, which 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 despite 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.
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 was set to begin two days later, with Albert scheduled to call multiple games that week. Bob Costas filled in for those games, and Albert returned to call Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals between the Dallas Mavericks and Sacramento Kings.
In 2005, Albert officially became the lead play-by-play man for the New Jersey Nets franchise started calling their games on the YES Network, often teaming with Brooklyn native and NBA veteran Mark Jackson. With that, the Nets had 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. 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 Albert's 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 a 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 and has served 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 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 included play-by-play announcing for the NFL (by 1983, Albert was the No. 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 53 guest appearances on David Letterman's late-night talk show 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's voice is imitated in the popular video game NBA Jam. The announcer was modeled on Albert, although there is no mention of Albert in the game and the announcer was actually voiced by Tim Kitzrow.
Albert became embroiled in a sexual assault scandal in 1997. A 42-year-old woman named Vanessa Perhach accused Albert of throwing her onto a bed, biting her, then 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 Albert had bitten her on two different occasions in 1993 and 1994 in Miami and Dallas hotels respectively, 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 he had 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. 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). NBC lost the rights to the NBA to ABC following the 2001-02 season.