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Tribute to Johnny Hoops

by James Decker

Bob Ahrens : WFUV Sports

John Andariese Receives Prestigious Award at Hoop Hall

On Friday night in Springfield, Massachusetts, Fordham University alum John Andariese received the Curt Gowdy Media Award for Electronic Media. Andariese was a member of the Fordham Rams basketball team from 1956-1960, and played in two NIT’s. 

His broadcasting career began when he did color commentary alongside Marv Albert for Knicks radio broadcasts in 1972, and was on the radio until 1986. He then worked on television for MSG also alongside Marv Albert from 1986-1997, before returning to radio as a color commentator until 2012. He was also the host of a show on NBA TV called “NBA Legends with Johnny Hoops”.

When he was announced as the award winner, Marv Albert (1997 Gowdy Winner) and Adam Silver both spoke about Andariese. They shared stories about Johnny Hoops, which were not only about who he was on-air but the type of person he was off the air. There was also an entertaining video tribute of Andariese which highlighted some of his famous calls and also some behind the scenes outtakes.

After asking Marv Albert about what it meant for him to see Johnny Hoops receive the award that he once received he said “I was so delighted, he’s deserved it for many years. Not only was he a terrific broadcaster but he was a great guy to work with.” Mike Breen called it “one of the nicest nights I’ve ever been a part of because {Andariese} is a guy who’s given his life to the game of basketball.” Breen also noted with a smile “And he’s a Fordham guy.”

When speaking to Albert, Adam Silver and Breen after the ceremony I noticed that they all agreed that Andariese was able to put the game in terms that every fan could understand.  “He translated the game into lay-person’s terms” Silver said. “He made the game understandable”. Breen added, “He had a wonderful way of explaining the game in simple terms. He was an expert with his knowledge, but he explained things in a way that everyone could understand.” 

Albert had a similar compliment for Andariese when he said “not only was he knowledgeable with such a love for the game, but the way he could break it down so the fans could understand the fundamentals, and he also had a great sense of humor which is important in broadcasting.”

Perhaps the highest compliment that Johnny Hoops receieved was from former Commissioner and 2014 Hall of Fame Inductee David Stern, who said that Andariese was “the most reliable curator of New York basketball history and tradition.” Stern then added that Johnny Hoops was also “the most honest reporter with respect to how the Knicks were doing.”

The President of the Basketball Hall of Fame John Doleva said “When you give out these type of awards you want to pick the right people, and there was so much support for John. He’s a wonderful guy who’s contributed so much to the growth of the game.”

There’s no doubt that Johnny Hoops has made a profound impact on people and on the game of basketball. He was not only a tremendous color commentator but a well-respected individual who brought out the best in people and will leave lasting impressions on everyone he has met.

Audio from interviews with Marv Albert, Mike Breen, David Stern, Adam Silver and John Doleva are below. 

You can also listen to the full Fordham Focus segment with all of these clips from this weekend's One on One below. 

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Marv Albert Mike Breen David Stern John Doleva Adam Silver