Former Cavaliers Broadcaster Joe Tait Dies at Age 83

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorMarch 11, 2021

FILE - In this March 27, 2011, file photo, Cleveland Cavaliers hall of fame broadcaster Joe Tait prepares to call an NBA basketball game between the Cavaliers and Atlanta Hawks in Cleveland. Tait, a longtime Cleveland sports broadcaster and voice of the Cavaliers for more than four decades, died Wednesday, Mach 10, 2021, the Cavaliers said in a statement. He was 83. Tait had recently gone into hospice care following a lengthy batter with kidney disease and liver cancer. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
Mark Duncan/Associated Press

Longtime Cleveland sports broadcaster Joe Tait died Wednesday at the age of 83, per Tom Withers of the Associated Press.

Tait called Cavs games as the radio play-by-play commentator in five different decades, starting in 1970 when the team began NBA play. His retirement in 2011 capped his broadcasting career.

The Cavs released a statement on his death. It read in part:

"A dedicated husband and father—generous with his talent and spirit—Joe received every major sports broadcasting award there is over the course of his career in Northeast Ohio. And like some of the most legendary Cavaliers he chronicled, Joe joined them with his own banner hanging in the rafters of Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse."

He also called games for the Cleveland MLB team from 1973 to 1987, starting on radio before moving to television in 1980. He called a pair of no-hitters as well as Len Barker's perfect game in 1981 against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Cleveland Indians @Indians


Tyler Carey of WKYC compiled some of Tait's best baseball and basketball calls, and you can find them here.

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, who played for the Cleveland Cavaliers from 2003 to 2010 and again from 2014 to 2018, offered his condolences after hearing the news:

LeBron James @KingJames

Rest In Paradise my friend!! You’ll be extremely missed here! 🎙🙏🏾👑https://t.co/uY76i2LpcF

Per Withers, Tait was inducted into the media wing of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010. He also served three years in the United States Army and called games for the WNBA's Cleveland Rockers, the WHA's Cleveland Crusaders and University of Mount Union football.