Marv Albert discusses life as "the voice of basketball" during visit to Syracuse

The broadcaster and former Syracuse student spoke to students and faculty in the Joyce Hergenhan Auditorium on Tuesday evening.

When Marv Albert was growing up in Brooklyn, he would turn down the audio during sports television broadcasts and do his own play-by-play on a reel-to-reel tape recorder.

He even created a fictitious radio station, WMPA, which was inspired by his initials.

Now 73 years old, that young kid with a made-up radio network has become one of the most recognizable voices in sports broadcasting.

"I still love what I'm doing. That's the main part of the story. I just love it."
- Marv Albert

Albert has been the play-by-play voice of the Super Bowl, Stanley Cup Finals and the NCAA Tournament. On Tuesday evening, he spoke to a capacity crowd in the Joyce Herganhan Auditorium about his path to Syracuse University and a professional career that has spanned more than 40 years.

Since departing SU in 1963, Albert has traveled coast-to-coast to bring sports into the homes of millions of fans. However, the passion for broadcasting that consumed him as a young child has never gone away.

"I still love what I'm doing," Albert said. "That's the main part of the story. I just love it."

Albert fell in love with sports at a very young age. He told the audience about the thrill of going to Brooklyn Dodgers games at Ebbetts Field, not to mention riding on the team bus with stars like Jackie Robinson and Roy Campanella as the squad's office boy.

That passion only grew when he was introduced to famed New York broadcaster Marty Glickman, who orginally hired Albert as a statistician. 

"Marty was actually my second father and really looked after me," Albert said. "He was also very kind with other young broacasters. That was just his nature, which made him such an incredible guy."

Glickman also directed Albert to SU, which he attended from 1960 through 1963. 

Earlier in the day, Albert received a tour of various media organizations on campus, including Z89 Radio and WAER, where he once honed his skills behind the microphone. He said a lot has changed since he called Syracuse home.

"I saw (Watson Hall) today for the first time in a long time," Albert joked. "The campus does look a little bit different. There were more open spaces at the time when I was here."

The program concluded with a question and answer session, where Albert touched on a number of topics.

While he mainly focused on his past, Albert spoke about the globalization of basketball and the future of women in the broadcasting booth. He also shared his excitement prior to beginning yet another season as TNT's premier NBA play-by-play voice.

Albert concluded by offering students advice on how to turn their sports media aspirations into reality, telling them to fully immerse themselves in whichever craft they decide to pursue.

After all, it worked out pretty well for that youngster with a tape recorder.

"Some people may think you can just take courses and just show up, and it's not going to happen," Albert said. "It's like anything else: You really have to go after it."

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