The Philadelphia 76ers’ first off-season departure has been announced, and it’s a big one.
Longtime Sixers broadcaster Marc Zumoff announced his retirement on Tuesday, bringing to an end a 39-year run with the organization, including the last 27 as the television play-by-play announcer for Philly.
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A Philadelphia native, Zumoff attended Temple University and announced football and basketball games for the college, before leaving the school early and eventually earning his undergraduate degree 15 years later. In 1983, Zumoff was hired as the 76ers pre-game/halftime/post-game host and on August 17, 1994, was named the team’s play-by-play announcer.
“Zoo” called over 2,100 Sixers’ games between the regular season and playoffs – according to a release from the team – and won the Mid-Atlantic Emmy Award for best sports play-by-play broadcaster 19 times.
“We sincerely thank Marc Zumoff for all he’s done for this organization, this team and the city of Philadelphia over the last 27 years,” Philadelphia 76ers Managing Partners Josh Harris and David Blitzer said in the release. “We’ll miss his iconic voice and trademark sayings, which have been staples during 76ers games for the better part of two decades. While we congratulate Marc on his retirement, we look forward to properly honoring and celebrating him at a home game during the 2021-22 season.”
‘Allow Me to Thank You, 76ers Fans’
During his run with NBC Sports Philadelphia and the Sixers, Zumoff also earned the 2018 Bill Campbell Award from the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association and twice was named the Pennsylvania Sportscaster of the Year by the National Sports Media Association (2018 and 2019).
Zumoff was inducted into the Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 2011. In addition to his Sixers’ duties, he was the voice of NBC Sports’ coverage of the 2016 Rio Olympics, did play-by-play for NBA TV and Turner Sports and had numerous other gigs as well.
His first love though, was the Sixers.
“My father took me to my first 76ers game during the team’s initial season in Philadelphia, after it moved here from Syracuse,” Zumoff wrote in his retirement letter. “As soon as I walked through the turnstile at the old Philadelphia Arena, I was startled by the crowd noise. A quick walk up some steps and I was overwhelmed by the sights and sounds. The bright lamps that hung from the ceiling. The thumping of the ball against the gorgeous hardwood. The satin uniforms. The squeaking of sneaks. The players talking. And the canopy of cigar and cigarette smoke that hung over it all.
“It was February 29, 1964, I was eight years old; and that was the night the Philadelphia 76ers became my first love.”
Zumoff admitted “I still love what I do”, but “there are several issues at play here” in announcing his decision. The Philly icon said he wants to spend more time with his wife of 38 years and would like to “play a musical instrument, learn to speak a foreign language, cook, travel, and by all means give back with my time and strength to the charitable causes that I hope will make for a better world.”
The 65-year-old said he plans to continue to be active in the Philly community and on social media.
“But for now, allow me to thank you, 76ers fans, for the opportunity to be with you on this surreal ride. It’s been a privilege to be welcomed into your homes,” Zumoff wrote. “I’ve come to fully understand and appreciate the responsibility of being the voice of your team and I was truly honored to do so.”
Congratulatory Messages, Shout-Outs, Thanks Flood Social Media for Zumoff
Unsurprisingly, following the legend’s announcement on Tuesday, the love came flowing in from across Sixers nation and beyond.
And of course, many spent Tuesday morning reminiscing over some of Zumoff’s most memorable play calls with the Sixers.
The support is surely to continue to flow in the rest of this week for the legend, Marc Zumoff.