The Most Influential Sportscaster Ever

Who do you consider the most influential sportscaster ever?

Might it be a man who blazed the trail and led the way for so many legendary sports broadcasters?  How about the man who actually invented much of the sports broadcasting language we hear each day?  Or could it be the guy who broke the barrier as the first athlete-turned-sportscaster?

You would be correct on all accounts.  The most influential sportscaster ever is the man who did all of this and much, much more.  A sports broadcaster named Marty Glickman, whose wide-reaching influence spans generations of sports broadcasters over the past 100 years. 

It was Glickman who became a New York broadcasting staple, with his pioneering coverage of college basketball and the early days of the NBA and NFL.  It was during these years he also took a young Marv Albert under his wing, grooming  the young phenom into an eventual sportscasting giant.

More than just being first on the scene, he actually invented much of that scene….creating the basketball phraseology we hear during each game today.  Glickman invented such phrases as “swish” and the descriptive court geography most broadcasters now use routinely.  Marty described the court with such detail, in ways never heard before. 

Marty Glickman built the sportscasting infrastructure on which every future sports broadcaster could travel and developed the accompanying philosophy of “painting the word picture” on radio.  He believed that the broadcaster’s job was to paint the picture and describe the action, allowing the fan to “feel” as if he were at the game.

The iconic Glickman grew a “broadcasting tree” that still grows wide and deep.  Included among the top-tier sportscasters he personally taught and influenced are Albert, Bob Costas, Mike Breen, Bill Walton, Bob Papa, Connell McShane, Tony Reali, Spero Dedes, Chris Carrino, Mike Emrick, Greg Gumbel, Sean McDonough and countless others.  These pro’s, in turn, have passed his philosophy down to thousands more.

Today, it often seems as though the vast majority of sports broadcasters are former athletes. It was Marty Glickman who blazed the trail as the first athlete-turned-sportscaster.  He is most widely known athletically as the Jewish sprinter who was dropped from participation in the 1936 Olympic Games due to Anti-Semitism.  Glickman, however, used that tremendous disappointment as a stepping stone toward his true destiny.  After a fine track and football career at Syracuse, he jumped into sports reporting and built his lasting career.

Although his on-field and on-mic accomplishments are impressive, Glickman's biggest legacy is his influence on future broadcasting generations.  Following his on-air career, he spent much of his time coaching national name sportscasters, as well as young students at New York’s Fordham University.  His philosophy has become their philosophy, and thus his impact can never truly be measured.  He was a giant of a broadcaster, and an even greater man.


Fastest Kid On the Block: The Marty Glickman Story (Sports and Entertainment)
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