Gilmartin ‘One of the Good Guys’

Perhaps Al McCoy, as usual, put it best.

“Joe Gilmartin had a knack for relaying the story from a genuine perspective,” the Suns’ play-by-play announcer said. “He was so genuine in his approach that fans really resonated with his writing for many, many years. He’s really an amazing person.

“I couldn’t be happier for him.”

Of course, McCoy is referring to former Suns beat writer and broadcast analyst Joe Gilmartin being selected a recipient of the 2014 Curt Gowdy Media Award.

Named in honor of Curt Gowdy, who served as president of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame for seven consecutive one-year terms, the award recognizes members of the electronic and print media for outstanding contributions to basketball.

McCoy won the award in 2007 for broadcasting.

Gilmartin will be recognized for his contributions to basketball during the Hall of Fame Enshrinement events in August in Springfield, Mass.

A sports columnist for the Phoenix Gazette for more than 30 years, Gilmartin joined the afternoon paper in 1962 as assistant sports editor before becoming sports editor in 1963 and continuing to write a column until 1996. He was named Arizona Sportswriter of the Year a record 16 times before entering semi-retirement, as a part-time columnist for Suns.com.

“The first two or three days, I didn’t believe it,” Gilmartin humbly said of the honor. “I know a lot of jokers so I wasn’t sure if someone was pulling my chain or not. I certainly didn’t see it coming. Once I got over the shock of it, I was pleased like anybody else would be. To be honest, I didn’t even know I was nominated.

“There have been a lot of outstanding media people over the years; my first thought was if I’m there, those guys should be there, too.”

In 1972, Gilmartin was named the first president of the Professional Basketball Writers Association and held the position until 1974. He also authored the book The Little Team that Could…And Darn Near Did about the Suns’ historic run to the 1976 NBA Finals. In the mid-1980s, Gilmartin was a TV color analyst for the team at Dimension Cable Services.

Ultimately, Suns fans will always remember Gilmartin’s for his first-rate coverage of the team and unique, tell-it-like-it-is approach. When something remarkable happened, he made sure to share it with fans from a sincere viewpoint. Regardless of the situation, he wrote with such an appealing tone that made every article interesting and fresh.

“He’s one of those guys that you could always trust,” added Suns Head Coach Jeff Hornacek, who knew Gilmartin during his time as an NBA player. “One of the really good guys in the media.

“The award is certainly well-deserved.”