Marv Albert will be calling March Madness games for CBS and Turner Sports, in addition to continuing to call NBA on TNT games and calling fights on the new Premier Boxing Champions on NBC. I caught up with Marv at a media event for March Madness where we talked about his many assignments.
How was his first broadcast on Premier Boxing Champions on March 7th?
Marv: It was a lot of fun, I mean the second fight (Keith Thurman beat Robert Guerrero) was much better because of the explosiveness was kind of like one of these boxing movies where a guy is really having problems and then he comes back strong even though he lost. NBC did a great job with it production-wise, and it was great, for me, it was like a flashback, I hadn’t done boxing since the Olympics in 2000 in Sidney. Working with Al Michaels and Sugar Ray (Leonard) and Laila Ali, it was a great pick for me.
How much are looking forward to calling the boxing card in Brooklyn on April 11th?
Marv: They’re two good fights, featured by Lamont Peterson and Danny Garcia, so nice to be back here, although I have an NBA game in Miami, so it’s kind of a busy week.
What have you enjoyed about calling March Madness games compared to the NBA?
Marv: It’s so different, first of all, although we do a volume of games, particularly that first day, but when I do college, and I’ve done a number of college games this season, you finish a game, and you think, ‘where’s the second half?’ you know, because it goes so fast compared to the NBA. It’s so different, I mean, the NBA game is my life, I’ve done this in the past for NBC, it’s just the enthusiasm, the spirit, what Grant Hill was talking about before, and what could be, (Charles) Barkley mentioned, it could be the last game of their lives, crowds, just the hoopla that surrounds it. It’s kind of a challenge because a lot of these teams we haven’t seen, so you’re seeing them, we’ll watch them on tape so we know who we’re doing, but many times, most of us are seeing them for the first time, so it’s a different challenge than in the NBA, where basically, with TNT, we’re doing the best teams every week.
It’s basically a pool of ten (NBA teams on TNT), essentially.
Marv: Yeah, that’s a good point. Probably, I’ve done twelve different teams all year. I have a good game this week, Memphis and Washington, which is a good game, I’ve watched them, but we haven’t really done them.
You did the St. John’s – Georgetown game (on February 28th at Madison Square Garden), what do you see from St. John’s heading into the Tournament?
Marv: That was a good game, they were peaking, I know they lost to Villanova (March 7th), Lavin rested guys, but they can be a little bit of a surprise in the Tournament. The key here is they have several seniors, three or four who play, and the experience really helps. It all depends on matchups, who they’re gonna get in the first round and then if they advance, who they’re gonna play. It’d be nice, I’m taking for granted they’re gonna be in, but it would be nice to see that.
How was it calling that game at The Garden? For all the years you did Knicks games, it’s kind of sad there is nothing there in your honor.
Marv: Well, you know, I’ve done a lot of Knicks games there for Turner and college games, but it’s great doing games there, it’s a great place, even if the Knicks are not playing well, to be kind, it’s still, to me, it’s the greatest arena for basketball in the world, so I get a kick out of it, still do.
What do you think of getting The Garden and Barclays Center into the fold for regionals?
Marv: I’d love to see it every year, the games in Brooklyn and New York, fans will come out, and at The Garden in particular, it’s the place that the kids want to play basketball, so it’s really good.
You worked with Steve Kerr on TNT, what do you think of the job he has done as the Golden State Warriors Head Coach?
Marv: Spectacular. It’s not an easy job. He took over a team where Mark Jackson was a very popular coach and Steve, we miss him a lot, I don’t want him to hear that, but we do, and you know, I’ve done many of their games this year, so it’s nice we’ve been able to get together, so…but the job he’s done is incredible as a first-year coach. He’s surrounded by good people, the players are not only good, they’re just really a bunch great guys too, nice combination to have.
Are the Warriors the favorites?
Marv: You know, it’s so different in the playoffs, we’ll have to see where Oklahoma City finishes. As good as they are, they could end up with Oklahoma City in the first round. We’ll have to see, the way Cleveland’s been playing, they’ll be there, and Golden State will certainly be among the favorites.