Continuing his comeback, former NBC network basketball
play-by-play man Marv Albert will announce several of Turner Network Television's National
Basketball Association games beginning in April, as part of a multiyear deal with TNT.
Albert, who currently calls some New York Knicks games on
local radio, will work several regular-season and playoff contests for TNT, beginning with
the Los Angeles Lakers-Phoenix Suns game April 2, the network said.
Albert will continue to host regional-sports network
Madison Square Garden Network's National FinanceSportsDesk local
sports-news show, as well as the Knicks' radio games.
"We're always looking for the best possible on-air
talent, and Marv is certainly among the best play-by-play people in sports," said
Mike Pearl, executive producer at Turner Sports, in a prepared statement.
The move marks Albert's continued comeback from a very
public and embarrassing sexual-assault case in 1997. After the trial -- in which he
pleaded guilty for biting a woman in Virginia -- Albert was fired from NBC and later
resigned from MSGN.
He returned to MSGN late last year to host SportsDesk.
Both TNT and industry observers feel that Albert's past
problems will not hamper TNT's NBA ratings.
"We expect reaction will be for the most part
positive, although it's likely that there will be some negative reaction," said Greg
Hughes, vice president of public relations for TNT.
"Albert's a great announcer, and I think that the
television industry in general makes too much over people's past problems," said John
Mansell, senior analyst for Kagan Associates Inc.
Indeed, since Albert's return, SportsDesk has posted
its top two highest rated programsever, according to the network.
There is also speculation that Albert could handle other
duties for TNT down the line. Albert could be the voice of a proposed TNT/NBC football
league, as well as for any future TNT boxing cards.
"We're going to use him as widely as possible, in
accordance with his contract," Hughes said.