NBA Executive Brian McIntyre, who has spent over 30 years in the league office and three and a half years with the Bulls as Director of Marketing and Media Information, received the the Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award, the most prestigious award presented by the Hall of Fame outside of enshrinement. (Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images)
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By Sam Smith | 08.12.2011 | email@example.com | @SamSmithHoops
It was during one of the 30 or so All-Star games that Chicagoan Brian McIntyre was coordinating for the NBA as its chief media representative.
Really, just another magical day for the North Side Loyola Academy kid who, as he said, spent his childhood with his face pressed up against the window of Chicago sports, and then found himself in his own dream right in the middle of it.
Someone was asking Antoine Walker, the Chicagoan then playing for the Boston Celtics, why he shot so many three pointers.
“It’s my favorite one liner after all these years,” McIntyre was recalling Thursday night at the Basketball Hall of Fame awards dinner. “Antoine said, ‘Because there ain’t no fours.’”
Jim Durham, the 2011 Gowdy Award winner representing electronic media, joined ESPN in 1992, and serves as lead play-by-play commentator for the NBA on ESPN Radio, a role he received in January 1996 when the network’s game coverage debuted.
(Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty Images)
And so the greatest sports show on Earth bounced on and Thursday the ball settled in Springfield, where McIntyre received the John W. Bunn Lifetime Achievement award for significant contributions to basketball.
McIntyre, the onetime Bulls media relations director, received the award among the highlights of the evening featuring the Class of 2011 inductees who’ll be honored Friday night.
Also receiving awards were longtime former Bulls broadcaster Jim Durham and Alexander Wolff of Sports Illustrated, getting the Curt Gowdy media awards for print and electronics, and Chauncey Billups, former Globetrotter Johnny Kline and the V Foundation receiving the Manny Jackson Human Spirit award for community commitment.
Durham, who was the voice of the Bulls from 1973 through the first championship in 1991, fondly recalled his broadcast partner Johnny “Red” Kerr, the wisecracking Bulls franchise legend and former Bunn award winner who even shortly before he died of cancer was telling friends he wanted on his tombstone, “I told you my feet were killing me.”
As usual, when talking about Kerr, everyone smiled.
But also as Durham said, “If it weren’t for the Bulls, nobody ever would have heard of me. That was the team that gave a chance to a 26-year-old kid out of Bloomington, Illinois no one had ever heard of and put him on the air, and 38 years later, here I am.”
Likewise, it was the Bulls who plucked the young entrepreneur, McIntyre, from the streets outside the old Chicago Stadium where he was selling pirate programs for a quarter of the cost the Bulls and Blackhawks were and fulfilled what McIntyre said was a fantasy and he joked for all those years he even had a better seat than World Wide Wes.
“But to be recognized and singled out and honored for doing what you are supposed to be doing and love doing is humbling,” said McIntyre, who joined the NBA in 1981 and Thursday received a standing ovation from the guests and Hall of Famers. “I’ve lived a dream.”