Wednesday, June 16, 2004
Albert and MSG Network part ways
ESPN.com news services
"Yes!" It's true. Marv Albert will no longer be doing Knicks games on the MSG Network.
No, James L. Dolan, chairman of Madison Square Garden and president of Cablevision, did not like Albert's on-air criticism of substandard play by the Knicks, according to reports in New York newspapers. So, yes, Dolan decided to do something about it.
Thus, after more than three decades as the voice of the Knicks on radio and television, Albert, 63, is leaving. He'll continue calling NBA games on TNT television and Monday Night Football games on Westwood One radio, but he's also looking for something to replace the Knicks.
That something could be with the YES network, whose Ian Eagle has one year remaining on a three-year contract to announce Nets games. According to The New York Times and The Daily News, YES has contacted Albert. Also, Daily News sources say Albert and the Lakers have been in touch.
Albert did not comment on his reasons for leaving, saying only that "it stopped being enjoyable for me and I decided to move on."
MSG responded by confirming a "mutual parting of the ways" and by calling him one of the "pre-eminent play-by-play telecasters of his generation."
Actually, Albert's generation stretches back through several generations of Knicks fans, to the late '60s. He was the Knicks' radio voice during their 1970 championship season and also called the Rangers on radio for 32 years.
Sources told the New York newspapers that management wanted a more positive outlook from Albert concerning the Knicks' play, while Albert, on his part, objected to censoring of his observations. Also contributing to a breakdown in negotiations for a new contract was Albert's nearly $1 million pay, which management wanted to cut, according to sources.
Mike Breen, the Knicks' radio voice, will replace Albert on TV, according to the Daily News.