NBA

Marv Albert’s Integrity Cost Him a Broadcasting Job He’d Held for Nearly 40 Years

There once was a time where New York Knicks fans seemingly couldn’t go a game without hearing Marv Albert.

From Walt Frazier through Patrick Ewing, Albert was there for the highs and so, so many lows that the Knicks experienced. It has been nearly 20 years since Albert and the Knicks divorced, and his integrity is the main reason why their wedding rings landed in the Hudson River.

Albert spent nearly 40 years with the New York Knicks

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For nearly 40 years, Marv Albert was the definitive voice of the New York Knicks.

One could argue, considering that Albert spent 30 seasons with the Rangers, that he was the definitive voice of New York sports in his time. Albert and Mike Breen, his replacement with the Knicks, remain among the NBA’s most memorable and popular play-by-play announcers.

Born in Brooklyn, Albert called his first Knicks game in January 1963. Starting in 1967, Albert was the team’s full-time play-by-play voice on radio and television.

Albert called the team’s two titles in the 1970s, Patrick Ewing’s dominating days in the 1990s, and all of the chaos that came when James Dolan took over as owner in 1999.

The Knicks parted ways with Marv Albert for being too critical

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Marv Albert is nothing but brutally honest, and the New York Knicks resented that fact.

There are two types of announcers in sports. Local announcers are the ones who do radio and/or television games, as Vin Scully did with the Dodgers. Then there are national announcers, people like Joe Buck and Jim Nantz who don’t cover one specific team. 

There is also someone like Ian Eagle, who is both a local announcer (the Brooklyn Nets) and a national play-by-play voice (for CBS and TNT).

Some local announcers tend to openly root for their team. Albert was not one of them, and he often criticized the New York Knicks on air, especially during a rough stretch in the early 2000s.

Knicks management didn’t enjoy Albert’s criticism, and the two sides parted ways after the 2003-04 season. In a 2004 interview with The New York Times, Albert reflected on where things went wrong between him and Knicks management.

”I felt at times like I was in the theater of the absurd, not the MSG Network. I felt like, what’s going on here? This is a chapter in journalism about how a broadcast should not be handled.”

The Knicks named Mike Breen as Albert’s successor. Albert has since called Knicks games for other networks, including TNT.

Marv Albert has stayed busy since leaving the Knicks

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Marv Albert left the New York Knicks in 2004, but he didn’t intend to hang up his microphone anytime soon.

Albert remainst he lead play-by-play voice for TNT’s NBA coverage. In 2011, Albert became an NFL announcer for CBS and spent three seasons in that role.

Another local NBA team benefited from Albert and the Knicks parting ways. The Nets — then in New Jersey — hired Albert to be one of two play-by-play voices ahead of the 2005-06 season. Albert and Ian Eagle split duties through the 2010-11 campaign.

Albert, who turns 80 in June, recently called the NBA All-Star Game. In February, he told the New York Post that he believes his career is “winding down” and he may retire soon.

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