At least one name synonymous with high-profile NBA games won’t be attending the league’s Disney World bubble.
Marv Albert is sitting this one out. The TNT play-by-play announcer told The New York Post’s Andrew Marchand on Tuesday that he will not call games at the NBA’s planned bubble league in Florida.
“I had second thoughts,” Albert told Marchand.
Albert, 79, has called NBA games since 1963. He became a staple on the New York sports scene calling Knicks and Rangers games and has been a fixture in national NBA broadcasting since he started calling games for “NBA on NBC” in 1990. He’s been TNT’s lead NBA play-by-play man since 1999.
Florida surge influenced Albert’s decision
But because of his age and the exacerbated threat the coronavirus presents to older people, he won’t be on the sidelines for this year’s playoffs. He said the recent surge of coronavirus cases in Florida played a role in his decision as did a conversation with Turner Sports executive Jeff Zucker.
“He said to me, ‘Maybe this is something you should skip in my age bracket,’” Albert told Marchand. “I’d like to point out to you that 79 is the new 78,” he joked.
Albert plans to return next year
Turner told Marchand that Albert may contribute to broadcasts remotely, but won’t resume his play-by-play duties. Albert expects to return to his role next year, according to the report.
Marchand also reports that 86-year-old ESPN color commentator Hubie Brown may also skip the bubble.
Marchand’s report confirms that broadcasters do intend to call the NBA’s bubble games from on-site. As some sports have resumed from their coronavirus hiatuses, broadcasters have often called events remotely from studios rather than assume the health risks that come from traveling during the pandemic.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver reiterated on Tuesday the league’s plan to resume its bubble league amid the spike in COVID-19 cases in Florida.
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