A true gentleman of the sports world is gone, as Dick Enberg has passed away at age 82.
Late Thursday night, some stunning news hit the sports world. Hall of Fame broadcaster Dick Enberg was found dead of an apparent heart attack at his home in La Jolla, California. He was 82 years old.
Enberg’s career spanned 60 years, from his start doing men’s basketball at Indiana University, to Los Angeles calling UCLA men’s basketball to his most recent run as television play-by-play man for the San Diego Padres through the 2016 season. During his time at NBC and CBS in particular, if it was a major sporting event Enberg was pretty much there.
Enberg called 28 Wimbledons, 10 Super Bowls, and eight NBA men’s basketball championship games, including the iconic “Magic vs. Bird” 1979 title game between Michigan State and Indiana State. He also did other play-by-play for MLB (nationally and for the California Angels), U.S. Open, French Open and Australian Open tennis and contributed to coverage of major golf tournaments.
Enberg’s list of career awards and acknowledgements is long, starting with won 13 Sports Emmys. He also received the Ford C. Frick Award from the National Baseball Hall of Fame (2015), the Pete Rozelle Award from the Pro Football Hall of Fame (1999) and the Curt Gowdy Award from the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (1995). He also has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and UCLA named its media center in Pauley Pavilion after him earlier this year.
Enberg clearly enjoyed calling the action for fans, and his trademark call of “Oh, my!” was perfectly and masterfully understated while expressing that joy. A gentleman in an industry increasingly devoid of them, Enberg still stands out and will always stand out.
Enberg made a move into a modern broadcast medium recently, with his Sound of Success podcast. An interview, perhaps Enberg’s final one, was published on the podcast on Thursday. Television producer and executive Andy Friendly was the guest, and had words that clearly echo the sentiment regarding Enberg for sports fans, and even current broadcasters, of a certain age.
I’m especially honored to be talking to you,” he said. “I mean — ‘Oh my!’ I grew up watching you do the NFL, especially Wimbledon. I was a tennis player growing up. … I’m a golfer, a bad one now. … And I just watched you religiously. …
“This is a true honor, and I can’t wait to read your book on Ted Williams, who is a true hero of mine.
“You are one of my true heroes and one of the true greats of our business, Dick. It’s a real honor, and I’m not just blowing smoke, and I know your listeners know this already. I am talking to broadcast royalty today, and I am thrilled to be doing it.
Enberg is the only person to win Emmy Awards as a broadcaster, a writer and a producer. He would have turned 83 on Jan. 9.