For Glickman, sticking with name an easy call

Late sportscaster's decision was a loud statement against discrimination

Sports Plus

January 28, 2001|By Andy Knobel | Andy Knobel,SUN STAFF

Marty Glickman, who died this month at the age of 83, was among sports broadcasting's most influential figures, working behind microphones for more than 50 years and developing descriptive phrases, such as "top of the key," that are now part of the language.

He mentored Marv Albert and tutored Bob Costas, and yet despite a reputation for painting word pictures with precise, animated diction, he rarely found himself called to the national stage.

Part of the reason may well have been anti-Semitism.

Shortly after Glickman decided to devote himself to a career in sportscasting, right after his track and football glory days at Syracuse University and several years after he was denied a chance to run on the 1936 U.S. Olympic relay team because its host, Adolf Hitler, had already been made to suffer Jesse Owens, he had a chat with a radio executive.

New York Post media critic Phil Mushnick writes that the radio executive suggested that Glickman change his last name.

"Why?" Glickman asked, although he already knew the answer.

The executive explained that if Glickman lost such an obviously Jewish name he would make life easier for everyone. The sponsors would be more receptive to his hiring, which would make life easier on the radio executive, which would enhance the broadcaster's opportunities in the business.

"I told him," Glickman said, "that for just that reason I had been thinking of changing my last name. In fact, I told him I already had one picked out."

The executive brightened. "Really?" he said, "What is it?"

"Moskowitz," Glickman said. "From now on I want to be known professionally as Marty Moskowitz."

That's blasphemy

One player whose name brought him a lot of grief is point guard God Shammgod, who left Providence after his sophomore season in 1996-97 for a pro basketball career that hasn't worked out.

These days, he's playing in Poland.

A story about him in P.O.V. magazine had this advice for players considering turning pro early: "Don't follow God."

$-Rod

Alex Rodriguez's decision to leave the Mariners to sign with the Texas Rangers for $252 million over 10 years has angered some fans in Seattle.

One posted an e-mail to ESPN.com suggesting that Rodriguez's nickname be changed from A-Rod to A-Fraud.

Some suggestions sent to Rodriguez's Web page: Betray-Rod and Pay-Rod.

Better buy a program

Wrote Bud Geracie of the San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News:

"If Abdul-Karim al-Jabbar [formerly Karim Abdul-Jabbar, nee Sharmon Shah] changed directions the way he changes names, he'd be a great NFL running back."

Anyone seen C3PO?

Perhaps Arttu Kahyko's NHL career didn't work out because the defenseman turned in too many droid-like performances.

Maybe he should have changed the spelling of his name to the phonetic pronunciation: R2 K KOO.

How about Max Lane?

A street in West Lafayette, Ind., will be named in honor of Purdue quarterback Drew Brees. The street name sounds cool: Brees Way.

That news led Tom FitzGerald of the San Francisco Chronicle to wonder what other street names might be in the works somewhere: "Tiger Woods Drive, Tai Street, Margaret Court ... There's no dead-end to the possibilities."

Name Al Arbour skipper

Russ Reynolds, production director of KFOX-FM in San Jose, says he would "like to see Bob Denver buy the New York Islanders, so we could call them Gilligan's Islanders."

Compiled from wire reports and Web sites.

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