Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Remembering Jim McKay

Sports journalism lost a giant over the weekend with the passing of Jim McKay at age 86.

For me, the Olympics were never the see once ABC no longer owned the broadcasting rights to the games, meaning McKay could no longer anchor them.

As a former sports writer myself, McKay brought something else to our profession - respectability. After his historic broadcast covering the Israeli hostage crisis at the 1972 Munich Games, McKay changed the face of broadcast journalism forever with his handling of the situation.

With his passing, I can't help but think how far sports broadcast journalism has fallen.

With ESPN having a virtual stranglehold on the industry, it's a different era. The Wide World of Sports, which brought the unusual but interesting sports to the masses, is no longer around. Why would ESPN waste broadcasting time on such things when they can foist the likes of the X-Games upon us?

And McKay's low-key, dignified approach? A thing of the past with anchors who want to shout "Boo-yah!" every five minutes and out-do each other with catch phrases and fluff.

McKay was a true broadcast legend. Let's hope he wasn't the last of his era.

TUESDAY'S BEST BETS: Speaking of things that were better in a bygone era, Game 3 of the NBA Finals (ABC, 9 p.m.) between the Lakers and Celtics airs tonight. It's a series of huge significance to me - 20 years ago. Now, honestly, I can give a crap but I'm sure someone out there is still watching.

If you enjoyed "Iron Man" and are eagerly anticipating "The Incredible Hulk" this weekend, you may want to check out "Comic Books Unbound" (Starz, 10 p.m.), which traces the phenomenon back to 1930s serials.


Jonathan said...

Sportscasting has definitely gone down the tubes. I was watching the Cubs/Dodgers on Sunday Night Baseball this past week and Joe Morgan offered up a couple of beauties. At one point he said that "You aren't just born and able to play baseball" (Really?) and he followed that up shortly after with "There is a big difference in the Minor and Major Leagues" (No Kidding?) With insight like that, what would we do without these guys?

I will miss the likes of Jim McCay along with many other people. I wonder if years down the road people will be saying the same things about the likes of Dan Patrick or Jim Rome?

zodin2008 said...

Agreed. The McKay passing does really signify the end of an era, and you have men of that generation, passing away regularly now. There are just a few Vin Scully or Pat Summerall types left, sadly.

As for the Lakers-Celtics, I do distinctly remeber watching those Finals games back in the 80's with my older brother - me rooting for the Celtics and him rooting for the Lakers. Now I am a diehard Spurs fan and just sad my team isn't in it this year.

But even at age 33, I will still be rooting for the Celtics over the Lakers.

Phillip Ramati said...

Joe Morgan has become pretty much unlistenable. His half-inning discussion of how hard Al Oliver hit the ball during Sunday's game was cringeworthy.

I can't imagine any broadcaster of this era younger than Bob Costas getting any sort of mention, other than how they destroyed sports broadcasting.

I used to love the Lakers of the Magic era, but I stopped pulling for them the day they got Kobe. Once they dump him, I may consider going back, but watching the NBA has become a chore these days.