There is no bigger sports’ broadcasting icon in New York than TNT’s Marv Albert. He is, of course, now the lead voice of the NBA on TNT, but for generations of Big Apple sports fans, he was the voice of the Knicks, Rangers, Giants and sports director of WNBC-TV.
Thursday, Nov. 1 at 7 p.m. ET, Albert will back in Brooklyn to call the TNT broadcast of the Knicks facing the Nets in their first regular season game since the move.
Albert makes it very clear that he is no fan of seeing franchises move but if the Nets and the Islanders must move, then he is happy to see them stay in New York, and more to the point, relocate to Brooklyn, his hometown.
The 71-year-old broadcaster grew up in the borough and has very fond memories, and after seeing the Dodgers leave town back in 1957, he is happy that pro sports is back in Brooklyn. I spoke to Albert about growing up there and sports returning to the borough.
JW: What was it like growing up in Brooklyn?
Albert: Sports was a huge part of growing up in Brooklyn. I grew up in the Brighton Beach section and we played stoop ball, street hockey and football. There were kids from all ethnic backgrounds and it was a very family oriented area.
The neighborhoods had wonderful shops, family owned restaurants and bakeries. Brooklyn was a snapshot of the immigrants who had come from all over the world to start a new life in America.
JW: How important is the return of pro sports to Brooklyn?
Albert: One of the darkest days in sports history was when the Dodgers left Brooklyn. There are still people who live here that have never forgiven the team for leaving. So now [that] we have the Nets here it is very good for the area.
Brooklyn still loves sports and they are already getting behind the Nets, and I expect that they will really make them a part of the community. I know that the team is very much aware of the history of pro sports in their new town and the team has done a nice job embracing the history and the community.
JW: What will a Nets and Knicks rivalry be like after the move?
Albert: I expect that we will see this being no different than the Yankees and the Mets or the Jets and the Giants. All great rivalries take time to build, and I think that will be the case with this one. But unlike baseball or football, they will play each other many [times] during the season, be fighting for the same divisional title, as well as face each other in the playoffs. Things could get very interesting, very fast.
Here is a fun fact about the borough of Brooklyn: If it were an independent city, it would rank as the fourth most populous city in the U.S., behind only the other boroughs of New York City combined, Los Angeles and Chicago, according to the New York Times.
*All quotes were obtained first hand in a telephone conversation arranged through Turner Sports.