January 3, 2001: Marty Glickman passes away at the age of 83
Marty Glickman – a native of The Bronx – was the quintessential sports voice during the 20th century. Glickman’s foray into sports began as a young sprinter. He qualified for the 1936 Olympics and was supposed to compete as part of the 4×100 relay team. However, the US team removed Glickman from the team right before the event and replaced him with Jesse Owens. One of the alleged reasons for the removal was to appease Adolf Hitler, since the Olympics were held in Berlin. The U.S. team won a gold medal for the event; the US Olympic Committee later honored Glickman in 1998 with a plaque in lieu of the gold medal he rightfully deserved.
After his foray as a sprinter, Glickman served in WWII. After his service, he served as the voice of sports reels distributed by Paramount News from 1948-1957. One of Glickman’s patented reels is below:
Glickman spent 21 years as the radio announcer for the New York Knicks from the inaugural season through the 1960s. He was known for famous catchphrases including “Swish” and “Top of the Circle.” He also broadcasted games for other teams, including the New York Giants, New York Yankees, and New York Rangers. For many years, Glickman represented the voice of the NBA and was the first TV announcer for the league.
His greatest gift was mentorship. His first protege was a young whippersnapper named Marv Albert. Marv’s first pivotal radio broadcast was the 1970 NBA Finals. Glickman also mentored current Knick announcer, and voice of the NBA, Mike Breen. Around the same time, NBC hired Glickman to help develop their sports broadcasters.
Glickman’s legacy lives on as he’s a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame and New York City Sports Hall of Fame. He was also the recipient of the inaugural Curt Gowdy award that recognized outstanding basketball writers and broadcasters.
Knicks Film School Historian, amongst other things