Marv Albert was well respected in the sports realm until the skeletons in his closet came tumbling out in 1997. Since then it has been a long road for him to pick himself up and dust himself off. Albert is slowly working his way back into the world of sportscasting, but he will never be like he was before his fall from glory. He was known for his passion for sports and how this enthusiasm came through on his broadcasts. Albert was also known for his hectic schedule, covering any game he could possible make it to. Apparently his chaotic career took a toll on his personal life.
Albert started early in his pursuit of a career in broadcasting, with his first play by plays being about the performances of his hamsters. In the third grade, when assigned to write an essay about what he would like to be when he grew up, he wrote about his aspirations to become a broadcaster. Albert's teacher, who commented that being a broadcaster was a lofty ambition, did not appreciate that enthusiasm. Years later the teacher wrote a note to Albert congratulating him on proving her wrong.
Albert knew what he wanted and went for his goals with a vengeance. He was able to secure a position as the New York Dodger's office boy at the age of about fifteen. With that position Albert was able to use the press box whenever there was a game. He would cart his reel to reel on the subway to the ballpark each game and would do his own announcing of the games. Marv also earned an opportunity to work with the infamous Howard Cosell .
Albert's first big break was in 1963. He worked along side announcer Marty Glickman, doing the statistics for him. Albert would drive Glickman crazy because he would emulate everything he did, writes Albert in his book I'd Love to But I Have a Game. One night Glickman was unable to make it to the game due to a snow-storm,
and that was when Albert was able to do his first broadcast for the Knicks. Two years later he became the regular play-by-play announcer.
"Marv's career took off…thanks to his distinctive style and Herculean work ethic, he was soon a household name, at least in the New York metropolitan area," said Steve Wulfe for Sports Illustrated. In 1977 he was recruited by NBC to broadcast and shortly after this he was called on to broadcast all kinds of national sports programs. Albert also developed a reputation as being the fill in for anyone who wouldn't show up for The David Letterman Show. David would call up Albert and ask him to put together some of his sports bloopers.
Skeletons in the Closet
Albert's days in the limelight were numbered as a dark cloud would overshadow his accomplishments. In 1997 Vanessa Perhach accused him of assault and battery. Albert vehemently denied the charges. Formal charges of assault and battery were entered against Albert. His defense was that this woman was upset because he was attempting to break off his ten-year affair with her. Many of Albert's fetishes, such as wearing women's lingerie, came out at the trial.
Apparently Perhach had pursued similar accusations with other men who attempted to break up with her as well, but that information was not allowed in the trial. Albert wanted to save face before any more skeletons came tumbling out of his closet. On September 25, 1997 he entered a plea bargain of guilty to the misdemeanor of assault and battery. He never had to serve time in jail, but was court ordered to attend therapy to ensure he addressed the serious sexual issues he had.
Leaving it Behind
Albert was fired from NBC the day of his guilty plea. The following day he tendered his resignation from Madison Square Gardens Network. Albert's life was in total upheaval. Everything he had worked so hard for since he was a boy seemed to have slipped out of his hands, never to be retrieved again. Not only that but Albert had to endure the shame and humiliation, as well as the numerous jibes that were being taken at him right and left. "Marv Albert last week was booted out of the broadcast booth and into his worse nightmare…Albert was chewed up and spit out, which, some would say, means justice prevailed," reported Gerry Callahan for Sports Illustrated. Although most other reporters were not quite as harsh as Callahan, all had a hay day with the particulars of the case.
|1941||Born in Brooklyn, New York|
|1950||Writes essay explaining how he would become a broadcaster when he grows up|
|1958||Begins working as the Brooklyn Dodger's office boy|
|1961||Becomes an announcer for WOLF radio in Syracuse, New York|
|1963||Announces his first Knicks game|
|1964||Earns Bachelor of Arts degree from New York University|
|1965||Marries Benita Caress|
|1967||Becomes the Knicks regular announcer|
|1967||Starts position as Sports Director for WHN Radio New York, New York|
|1975||Publishes his first book on sports trivia|
|1977||Signs to broadcast games with NBC|
|1979||Writes his second book on broadcasting|
|1993||Publishes an autobiography|
|1994||Writes a book about Knicks Championship season|
|1997||Charged with assault and battery by Vanessa Perhach|
|1997||Resigns from Madison Square Garden Network after being fired from NBC|
|1998||Rehired by Madison Square Garden Network and Turner|
|1998||Marries Heather Faulkner|
|1999||Rehired by NBC|
It was Albert's humble attitude and obvious remorse for his actions that brought him back to the Madison Square Garden company. In an interview with David Kindred for the Sporting News, MSG president Dave Checketts stated, "We think of ourselves as a family, and Marv is a member of the family. We told him at the start of this, if he did his part, we'd take him back." It was this opportunity that allowed Marv to slowly rebuild the life he had worked so hard to create for himself. Chris Bellard wrote in Sports Illustrated: "That his comeback has been so complete…is a testament not only to his skill as an announcer but also to the respect he has earned in more than 35 years in the industry."
SELECTED WRITINGS BY ALBERT:
Marv Albert's Sports Quiz Book. Price Stern Sloan Publishing, 1975.
(With Hal Bock Albert) Yesss: Marv Albert on Sportscasting. New American Library, 1979.
(With Rick Reilly) I'd Love to But I Have a Game: 27 Years Without a Life. New York, NY: Doubleday, 1993.
Awards and Accomplishments
|1971-90||Named sportscaster of the year by the National Sportscaster and Sportswriters Association|
|1990||Receives Global Ace Award|
|1990||Receives Emmy Award|
(With Phil Berger) Miracle on 33rd Street: The New York Knickerbocker's Championship Season, 1969-70. McGraw/Hill/Contemporary Books, 2001.
"Marv Albert." Newsmakers 1994. Issue 4. Farmington Hills, MI: The Gale Group. Gale Research, 1994.
"Marv Albert." St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture. 5 vols. St. James Press, 2000.
"Albert Receives a 12-Month Suspended Sentence." Court TV Online. http://www.courttv.com/casefiles/marv/marvalbert.html. (January 3, 2003).
Ballard, Chris. "Yess! He's Back." Sports Illustrated. (March 26, 2001): 28.
Callahan, Gerry. "The Dirt Under the Rug." Sports Illustrated, (October 6, 1997): 128.
Kindred, David. "A Second Chance, Absent of Joy." Sporting News, (July 27, 1998): 63.
"Marv Albert Biography." Washington Post, (September 25, 1997).
Neill, Michael. "What, Me Guilty?." People Weekly, (December 1, 1997): 197.
"Personal foul? A Virginia Woman Charges NBC Basketball Announcer Marv Albert with Sexual Assault." People Weekly, (June 2, 1997): 94.
Reilly, Rick. "One Step Out of the Doghouse." Sports Illustrated, (July 27, 1998): 94.
Schneider, Michael. "Albert Returns to Lead NBA on NBC." Variety, (December 20, 1999): 24.
Wulf, Steve. "Bonus Piece: As Harry Caray Often Says, 'it might be.…it could be.…" Sports Illustrated, (November 2, 1992): 74.
Wulf, Steve. "Oh, No! For the Yes Man." Time, (October 6, 1997): 44.
Sketch by Barbra J Smerz