Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Marvelous Marv

I know there are better sports announcers than Marv Albert. I know he's not the smartest, or wisest. But when I hear his voice on a TNT basketball broadcast, it pipelines me back to my childhood,  because Marv Albert is the soundtrack of my youth.  For decades, Albert was the voice of the New York Knicks (maybe he still is, I'm not sure) and given that I wasted my teenagery buying records and watching Knicks games on TV, Albert is - along with Bob Dylan and Jon Anderson -  a component of my wasted teenage Babel.  The Albert cliches became cliches long ago - "Yes, it counts!" "And the foul!"  But careful now;  this man is a very skillful broadcaster.  For one thing Albert, unlike every jock-asshole color guy doing TV now, understands that an announcer doesn't have to wallpaper the broadcast with his own voice.  He understands the value of leaving space, letting the game come to him rather than the other way around.  He doesn't get hysterical over every great play either.  A rise in Albert's voice - "Kobe with a spec-tacular play!" - is always enough and never too much.
The Albert-Reggie Miller team on TNT is doing a fine job during this playoff season. Never mind that the Knicks' all-time nemesis is sharing the mic with Albert.  They are smart and measured, not mad-breathless and dumb.  For this, I am grateful.  

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