Sports broadcast pioneer Dick Enberg has passed away. The 82-year-old died on Thursday, Dec. 21, just as he was about to meet his third grandchild.
A Celebrated Legacy
Emberg began his career in the 1960s when he alternated between doing on-camera work for the University of California Los Angeles sports teams. He also started alternating between the National Football League and Major League Baseball as the radio voice of two of the Southern California city's professional sports teams: The Los Angeles Rams and The Los Angeles Angels.
His path crossed with luminary athletes throughout his career. Emberg called the play-by-play when Ervin "Magic" Johnson first met Larry Bird at the legendary 1979 National Collegiate Athletic Association's men's basketball game. While Johnson and his team won the national title, both Johnson and Bird became legends on the NBA basketball court plus formed an unlikely high-profile friendship off the basketball court.
In 1975, Emberg began a 25-year-career with NBC that took him around the sports world. As a member of the network's sports broadcasting team, Emberg brought crucial games to households across the country. Dedicated fans of baseball, basketball, and tennis relied on his coverage to deliver an adequate and unbiased approach as he covered numerous events such as the World Series and Wimbledon.
When Emberg left NBC in 2000, he continued his career at CBS. Emberg helped the network covered several National Football League and college basketball games. He also assisted in covering the US Open Tennis and even helped the network expand its golf coverage including the Masters and PGA Championships. Emberg left CBS in 2014.
Enberg's Twitter Tributes
When news of Enberg's passing broke, numerous media personalities posted to Twitter to pay homage to the broadcast luminary.
CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus called Enberg "a masterful storyteller" and "a true gentleman." Entertainment superstar Cher's tweet received over 700 likes.
The San Diego Padres, who employed Emberg from 2010 to 2016, posted a statement how lucky they were to have Emberg provide play-by-play television commentary for nearly a decade. The team also offered Enberg's family free use of the team's stadium, Petco Park, if they wanted to celebrate his life with the public.
ESPN personality Chris Fowler shared a personal story on how Enberg inspired him to pursue a career in sports media.
Met Dick Enberg in his Angels’ booth as a 12 y-o dreamer & wannabe. I’ve learned from & admired his unmatched class & grace ever since... was immensely proud to call him an ESPN tennis colleague. Such sad news this morning. I’ll miss him deeply, especially while at Wimbledon
— Chris Fowler (@cbfowler) December 22, 2017
Enberg leaves behind his wife, five children, and three grandchildren.
Other celebrities that joined Enberg in death in 2017 include fellow TV icon Mary Tyler Moore, DJ Combat Jack, and rising rapper Lil Peep.