As I write this, I’m watching Game 2 of the Boston/Orlando series, which is quite frankly a blowout, but I’m still tuned in because Marv Albert can make anything sound interesting.
Growing up, he was the guy that did play-by-play for all the Bulls championships, so in a strong majority of the Michael Jordan highlight reels you’ve ever seen in your life, he’s the one narrating you through sports history. Nobody can say “From downtown!” the way he does, then follow it with an effervescent “Yes!” when the shot actually falls. Doesn’t matter if it’s Ray Allen or Brian Scalabrine taking the shot; when it goes down, you’re excited, dammit.
Sure, he’s got the worst rug in the history of the toupee, but the man’s an icon, no matter how many women he bites in the back during sex.
Knowing his surly past I should’ve been a little more anxious when I finally met the guy, but I wasn’t. Amazingly enough, I’ve grown to the point where meeting the actual superstars of the NBA doesn’t cause me to urinate my boxer-briefs anymore, but meeting Albert gave me butterflies. Shaq, LeBron, D-Wade. I’m fine. Excited, but fine. But when I meet these extraneous personalities in the NBA—anybody who’s anybody that I might bump into unexpectedly—I grow more nervous than a junior high kid asking a cheerleader to dance.
Albert was an extremely gracious guy. After shaking his hand and telling him that I was a fan, he showed genuine gratitude. His toupee these days is better than the one he wore in the Jordan years, and it softens his facial expressions a bit. He’s not a particularly tall guy, especially compared to the players, but he carries himself like a big man on campus. Just think of all the incredible games he’s seen over the years… Definitely a cool dude.
As far as a list of people I’d love to have record my outgoing voicemail message, he’d be pretty far up there. Maybe I’ll start practicing his speech patterns so my students are more interested when I lecture in class. A kid will raise their hand to ask if they can use the bathroom, and you know what I’ll say? “Yes!” And it’ll never get old.