76ers broadcaster Marc Zumoff retires

After announcing more than 2,100 games for the Philadelphia 76ers, the sporting veteran known lovingly to fans as “Zoo” to use his words, finally arrives for a touchdown.

Sixers announcer Marc Zumoff, who is Jewish, announced his retirement on June 29, after 27 years with the team.

After attending his first Sixers game on February 29, 1964, Zumoff fell in love with the team when he was just 8 years old.

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“It was the night the Philadelphia 76ers became my first love,” Zumoff wrote for NBC Sports.

After that fateful evening, Zumoff began his path to sports broadcasting, religiously watching Wilt Chamberlain-era games on his television, giving gossip into his tape recorder – a bar mitzvah gift.

After advertising for the Temple University Owls football and basketball teams as a student, Zumoff eventually landed a gig at PRISM, a regional cable channel, working there as a play-by-play announcer for 12 years before d ” being named announcer for the Sixers in 1994, where he accumulates his many awards.

Zumoff, a native of Philadelphia, has received numerous accolades for his work, including a 2011 induction into the Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, the 2018 Bill Campbell Award from the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association, the 2018 and 2019 Pennsylvania Sportscaster of the Years awards from the National Sports Media Association, as well as 19 Mid-Atlantic Emmy Awards.

But Zumoff is loved for more than his talent.

The Sixers haven’t won a championship since 1983, and “The Process,” started by former general manager Sam Hinkie, has yet to deliver one either.

Marc Zumoff | Courtesy of the Philadelphia 76ers

Yet unlike so many others in the sports world, Zumoff didn’t want to be a part of the team just to win. For him, the tribulations of the Sixers had little to do with his responsibility as a sports commentator.

“Even though the team didn’t play very well, from a personal point of view I’m getting used to the routine. In fact, it’s even better than I imagined, ”Zumoff told the Jewish Exponent in 1995.

Maybe Zumoff really succeeded, in that sense, in “turning garbage into gold.”

During his nearly three-decade tenure, Zumoff built up a fandom that trusted him.

“In summary, they invited me over to their house with the aim of watching a team that they are very passionate about, and they want to know if it’s bad or good, when they are frustrated or when they are delighted, I am here with them, providing a soundtrack that reflects it all.

But make no mistake, Zumoff’s career wasn’t just for basketball fans. For a boy growing up in North Philadelphia, playing basketball on the telephone pole hoop outside his home, with the dream of one day becoming the announcer for his childhood team, Zumoff knows his career was a dream come true.

“I’m doing my dream job, being an announcer for the 76ers. I have achieved my ultimate goal and not many can tell, ”Zumoff told the Exhibitor in 2015.

Zumoff acknowledges that he was one of the few broadcasters capable of playing his particular role.

“There are only 30 jobs like this in the whole universe, and I ended up broadcasting the games for the team I grew up for,” he said in an interview with Philadelphia Inquirer. “I had reached, in my mind, the pinnacle of my profession.”

His retirement comes primarily from a desire to spend more time with his wife, Debbie, to whom he has been loyal for longer than he worked for the Sixers.

“I’ll never be able to repay her for all the nights and weekends she spent alone, raising our sons and keeping her own career on high pressure. She’s just my best friend and we want to spend more time together, ”he wrote.

In a statement, 76ers managing partners Josh Harris and David Blitzer thanked Zumoff for his time with the team, “His iconic voice and signature lyrics will be missed, which have been a staple during 76ers games for nearly two decades. “

After his farewell, Zumoff wants to spend more time learning Spanish and playing the flute, skills that have been intact from eighth and ninth grade, respectively. He wants to “cook, travel and, by all means, give back with my time and my strength to charitable causes which, I hope, will contribute to a better world”.

His decision to retire – as Inquirer columnist Mike Sielski wrote – at the height of his career, was a deliberate one: “I still have a lot to do, and I want to do everything as long as I can.” am still able.

The Sixers have not named Zumoff’s successor and plan to release details of an upcoming “Marc Zumoff Night” at the Wells Fargo Center.

In the meantime, Zumoff plans to enjoy the Sixers the same way he did over half a century ago: glued to TV, watching his team play 82 times a year.

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