Marv Albert has seen his share of athletes and broadcasters announce their retirement and then come back a couple years later. He doesn’t expect to be one of them.
The Hall of Fame announcer would call his final game on Saturday if the Milwaukee Bucks beat the Atlanta Hawks in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals, which would propel the Bucks to their first NBA Finals since 1974.
If the Hawks win, Albert’s final game would be Monday’s Game 7 in Milwaukee. The 80-year-old announcer said before the playoffs began in May that he would retire at the conclusion of TNT’s coverage for the season. Albert has been with Turner Sports for 22 years, including 19 as its lead NBA play-by-play voice.
After that, the only way to hear Albert announcing a game would be inside his house.
“I think I’ll revert to doing it off the television set for my wife, as we were doing during lockdown and as a kid, my brothers and I would would do it with a crowd record in the background. That’d be the closest I would get to it,” Albert said when asked if he’d consider a comeback. “I’m ready to call it quits. I’ve said this before but the pandemic was kind of a rehearsal for retirement.”
Albert has already made one comeback. He was fired by NBC and resigned from Madison Square Garden Network in 1997 after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge of sexual assault when a longtime lover accused him of biting her on the back more than a dozen times and forcing her to perform oral sex.
After undergoing therapy, Albert returned to MSG in late 1998 and joined Turner in 1999 when the NBA lockout ended. He was rehired by NBC in 2000 and was there until the network lost the NBA rights in 2002.
“I’ve been very fortunate. I had several errors early. And then in recent years, also, you got to be a little lucky,” he said.
Even though he has broadcast games in all four major U.S. professional leagues, Albert’s 55-year career is most closely associated with the NBA. He was the radio voice of the Knicks during their championships in 1970 and ’73. He called five of the Chicago Bulls’ six title runs on NBC in the 1990s and and still has his courtside seat to witness today’s stars.
Albert said the biggest changes he’s seen in the NBA game involve defense, where hand checking is no longer allowed and other subtle moves to hinder offensive players can’t happen anymore.
His dream NBA starting five comes from a mixture of eras. Albert went with LeBron James and Larry Bird as his forwards with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar at center and Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan as his guards.
“I think if they played today, their bodies would be in different shape and they would be adjusting. Bird was already a very good 3-point shooter anyway,” he said. “I even think a guy like Bob Cousy would have been able to alter his game because you have more small guards in the game now than you did at a certain period years ago.”
Even though Albert is retiring, his family will maintain a professional relationship with TNT. His son, Kenny Albert, will join the network in October when it begins broadcasting NHL games.
“I said, if he gives you any trouble at all, because I know he can be tricky, I’m a phone call away,” Marv Albert said.