This summer has been a disappointing one for Philadelphia 76ers basketball following the team’s second-round exit to the Atlanta Hawks. At least with the on-court product, though, the expectation is that Daryl Morey has his first full offseason with the club, and he will retool the roster and have it back better than ever for the 2021-22 season. However, with this latest bit of news, it’s impossible to imagine the collective Sixers basketball viewing experience being better next season.
Marc Zumoff, the Sixers play-by-play announcer since August 1994, and the team’s halftime host for an additional 12 years before that, announced his retirement this morning.
The full statement from the Philadelphia 76ers Public Relations team is below. Also, be sure to read the retirement letter Zoo himself posted on the NBC Sports website.
The Philadelphia 76ers organization congratulates NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Marc Zumoff on his retirement from sports broadcasting after an incredible 27-year run as the team’s television play-by-play announcer. Over the course of his transcendent career, “Zoo” called more than 2,100 76ers games across the regular season and playoffs.
“We sincerely thank Marc Zumoff for all he’s done for this organization, this team and the city of Philadelphia over the last 27 years,” Philadelphia 76ers Managing Partners Josh Harris and David Blitzer said. “We’ll miss his iconic voice and trademark sayings, which have been staples during 76ers games for the better part of two decades. While we congratulate Marc on his retirement, we look forward to properly honoring and celebrating him at a home game during the 2021-22 season.”
During his nearly 30 years in the chair, Zumoff served as the voice behind the careers of several 76er stars, from current General Manager Elton Brand, Andre Iguodala and Hall of Famer Allen Iverson to Tobias Harris, Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. He shared the booth with former 76ers Steve Mix, Ed Pinckney, Eric Snow and Alaa Abdelnaby, as well as former NBA player Malik Rose and coach Bob Salmi.
A Philadelphia native and Temple University alumnus, Zumoff joined PRISM in 1982 and served as the in-studio host for pregame, halftime and postgame shows. He was named the play-by-play announcer on August 17, 1994 and went on to win the Mid-Atlantic Emmy Award for best sports play-by-play broadcaster 19 times. Zumoff received the 2018 Bill Campbell Award from the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association and was named twice named the Pennsylvania Sportscaster of the Year by the National Sports Media Association (2018 and 2019).
A 2011 inductee to the Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, Zumoff also served as the voice for NBC Sports’ coverage of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, as he followed the U.S. Women’s basketball team to its sixth consecutive gold medal. He also did play-by-play for NBA TV and for Turner Sports’ coverage of the NBA, including both regular-season and playoff games, the network’s coverage of the Goodwill Games as well as play-by-play for NBC Sports Philadelphia’s coverage of Major League Soccer’s Philadelphia Union and college football.
Prior to his time at Temple, Zumoff attended George Washington High School in Northeast Philadelphia. He’s married to his wife Debbie and the couple has two sons, Jake and Pace, and a daughter-in-law, Hanni.
The 76ers organization plans to honor and celebrate Zumoff at a home game during the 2021-22 season. Further details regarding “Marc Zumoff Night” at The Center will be distributed at a later date.
From the down days of the post-Barkley years, to the highs of the Allen Iverson era, to trudging through the depths of the Process, and back again to this latest one-seed 2020-21 team, Marc Zumoff was the one constant in Sixers basketball. Whether the team was coming down the stretch in a tightly-contested playoff game, or picking up guys at the airport to throw into the starting lineup in the midst of a 10-game losing streak, Zoo’s energy and enthusiasm for the game never wavered. Even in lost years where the game happening on the court bore little consequence to the big picture of the league, he made every night feel like appointment viewing.
In addition to his Hall-of-Fame-caliber talent in the booth, Zumoff was always one of us. He was born in Philadelphia, attended Temple University, and as he wrote in his letter, has been a Sixers fan since going to a game back in 1964 during the team’s first season in Philadelphia. No one who comes along in the future will surpass Zoo’s connection with this city and this organization, and that means something for fans tuning in at home, just as much as having trademark catchphrases.
So thank you for everything, Zoo. As far as the voices I’ve heard most in my life, it’s probably my parents, my wife, and then you. I sure do wish you could have been the announcer for a title-winning club, but for nearly three decades, you spun countless garbage moments into gold, and that’s a huge win in my book. Enjoy more time with your family and this next stage of your life.
And for those of you reading, I promise you won’t spend a better 12-and-a-half minutes today: