Marv Albert’s my favorite sportcaster of all time. I’ve spent more hours than I can calculate listening to him. I’ve kept watching bad basketball games just because he was the guy calling them. The best description of his style: “Albert broadcasts like a man who has bet every penny he has on the game, and desperately needs for both teams to win.” (That’s by Bill James, in The Baseball Book 1990, as part of the excellent but never-completed “Biographical Encyclopedia.” Albert hasn’t called baseball games in a long time, but he had a last name starting with A.)

I was lucky enough to interview Marv in 1996. It took months of wrangling with NBC (I had to wait until the Olympics were over), but once I got him on the phone, he was great–as funny and sharp as you’d hope. And he took my final question (“Would Marv Albert ever get a Prince Albert?”) with good humor, requiring explanation as to what a Prince Albert was, but ribbing me about it being a Details-type query.

The following year, he became the center of a lurid court case when a woman with whom he had a long-term sexual relationship accused him of rough sex and sodomy. Kinky details soon were plastered across the front pages of the tabloids: Marv had bitten her repeatedly, they had threesomes with another man, Marv liked to wear women’s underwear in bed. Ultimately, Marv plea-bargained to a misdemeanor charge of assault and battery and got a suspended sentence. He was promptly fired by NBC, producing the best tabloid headline of all: MARV GETS THE PINK SLIP.

My point in revisiting this decade-old scandal: Marv Albert totally knew what a Prince Albert was.

posted 9 June 2008 in Archives, Articles and tagged , , , . no comments yet

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