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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Memories of Dave Zinkoff

Thanks Howard Eskin, of WIP Radio in Philadelphia, for entertaining stories of the beloved once-upon-a-time Philadelphia 76ers public address announcer (and, in the opinion of many, including me, the best P.A. announcer ever). I listened to various Zink stories during late drive time yesterday, and have the following to add:


1. I loved the story about his handing out kosher, "Formost" salamis to fans at games. The way he said "salami" was classic, and, in fact, The Zink could have read the phone book and made it interesting (the same way Streisand or Sinatra could have sung it and kept audiences captivated).


2. The Zink's "Zinkisms" were classic. At the time in the NBA when in the penalty a player got three shots to make two, the way he said "three" was even exciting, and when a 76ers' shooting guard was at the line, he would say, "Lloyd at the line, Free to make two."


3. His "Two minutes left in the quarter" utterances made you feel that there were two minutes left in the history of basketball.


4. He credited assists well, as I still have ringing in my head "Caaaaahter from Cunning-haaaaaaam," citing to many a good pass from Billy Cunningham to Fred Carter. Timeouts were also an event, because even "the 76ers call tiiiiiiiiiime" could add drama to a contest.


5. How about Julius "Errrrrrrrrrrrving?" Or credits to assists from one-time power forward George McGinnis to anyone -- "Clyde Lee, by George!"

6. Parking lot issues also became celebrated. "There's a car in the parking lot, Pennsylvania License Plate Number XYC 129. Your doors are locked, your lights are on, and your motor is hum-mmmmmmmmminggggggggg."


Okay, so perhaps you had to be there, but all I know is that up in the rafters of the Wachovia Center is a banner with The Zink's name on it with a big microphone (instead of a number) on it, and it rests next to banners for Dr. J, Wilt Chamberlain, Billy Cunningham and Hal Greer, to name a few. He was that good at what he did.


And here's my favorite Dave Zinkoff story:


As you know, perhaps the most heated hoops rivarly in the 60's (and it missed some time when the 76ers were horrible in the early 70's but picked back up in the mid-to-late 1970's and early 1980's) was the rivarly between the 76ers and the Boston Celtics (the rivalry was so heated in the mid-1960's that then-76ers owner Ike Richman died of a heart attack in the midst of the 76ers-Celtics game).

In the late 1970's, I was at a 76ers-Celtics playoff game with my dad at The Spectrum, and the Celtics had jumped to a big lead. Late in the game, the 76ers roared back and the atmosphere was just plain electric. Right after the 76ers scored the go-ahead basket, a somewhat deflated Celtics Coach Tom Heinsohn signaled for a timeout so he could offer his now-struggling squad a lifeline. The 76ers' fans were just going wild, and The Spectrum was a place that could get very loud, and this was about as loud as it could possibly get. The fans went nuts during the timeout, and the public address announcer was silent.

The crowd was just about calming down right as the timeout was coming to an end. With perfect timing, right as the players were turning from their huddles to come back out to the floor, Dave Zinkoff broke the silence. In his inimitable staccato, The Zink offered: "As. . . I . . . was. . . trying. . . to say, the Celtics call tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiime." The place erupted again, even louder than right when Heinsohn signaled for a timeout in the first place. Sheer bedlam in the place, and all because of an outstanding, amusing, kind, very competent public address announcer who added so much joy to a professional basketball era that stressed team play, competence and excellence over cigar bars, dancing girls and entertainment.

Dave Zinkoff was the master when it came to public address announcers, and every time I hear "two minutes left in the quarter" or see a small kosher salami, I can't help but smile at warm memories of excellent basketball, times spent with my dad, and a unique individual.

10 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I second all that was mentioned Zink was a one of a kind and his PA just added to the overall basketball experience

4:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember many of these Zinkisms very well, especially those associated with the Erving era!

The order may have varied, as well as the starting lineup, but these were among those Zink announced:

Mark Iavaroni (I ver own E)
Maurice Cheeks (chicks)
Caldwell Joooones
Andrew Toney (TOE knee)

and always the grand finale was something like: "and at forward from the university of Massachusets, 6 foot 6, Julius Errrrrrrrrrrrrving!

I also believe he popularized Mixville (after Steve Mix)

I vividly remember the time Doc made his behind the board miracle in the NBA finals. Zink punctuated the moment, almost rubbing it in, when he said, "Lakers call tiiiiiiiim."

Great memories, tremendous character, wonderful announcer . . . good stuff! :-)

5:28 PM  
Blogger Jon said...

Excellent post, SportsProf ... you inspired me to elaborate on this wonderful topic and pass along fresh news about Zinkoff over at my blog, Quiet Clown. http://quietclown.wordpress.com/2009/03/10/think-of-the-zink/

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Grew up near Philly listening to the Zink

How about Lloyd Freeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

and if the 76ers scored a certain amount, JUM-BO JACKS for the HOUSE

if an opponent fouled out-and THAT is the QUOTA for number 32, Magic JOHNson

Wish I could hear him and Rex Barney once more.

Thank youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu

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10:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here are a few I remember from the 1960s:

1. "Dipper Dunk. From Walker."
2. "And that is the quote. On no. 6, Big Bill Russell."
3. Wally. By Golly."
4. "Greer, shooting three for two."
5. A technical on ---. And another. And out of the game."

6:38 PM  
Anonymous Buy Cialis said...

Now I'm pretty sure it's your radio station haha I hear it eveyday and there's a comedy show on mornings but I'm not sure if it's you, anyway your stories are really great.
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Anonymous Marc TRIPLETT said...

Here are a few Zinkisms:

'That was an Ohl goal!"

"That was a Howell foul!"

"Wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute...no basket!"

"Mix makes"

"Greer at the line shooting......another...."

10:33 PM  

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