June 9, 2011 (SPRINGFIELD, Mass.) – Alexander Wolff, a distinguished writer at Sports Illustrated for three decades, and Jim Durham, a commentator for the NBA on ESPN Radio and former voice of the Dallas Mavericks and Chicago Bulls, have been selected to receive the 2011 Curt Gowdy Media Awards from the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame during Enshrinement festivities scheduled on August 11-12, 2011 in Springfield, Massachusetts.
The Gowdy Media Award is named in honor of the legendary sports broadcaster and former Hall of Fame Board member and President, the late Curt Gowdy. The prestigious award is presented annually to members of the print and electronic media whose longtime efforts have made a significant contribution to the game of basketball.
“Curt Gowdy was one of the pioneers in sports media and a former Basketball Hall of Fame President, so each year we search for honorees who exhibit the passion and excitement that Mr. Gowdy displayed throughout his decorated career,” said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. “Alexander Wolff and Jim Durham are two individuals who have demonstrated a true love for the game of basketball, while going above and beyond their traditional roles to bring incredible storytelling into millions of households each year.”
Alexander Wolff, the 2011 honoree for the Print Media, has been a member of the Sports Illustrated staff since 1980. Although his primary focus has been basketball, he has also covered a variety of sports, including tennis, cycling, football, soccer and several Olympic Games. His quest and determination for a good story has taken Alex from basketball’s most storied arenas, to some of the world’s most remote regions.
“In his decades of covering basketball for SI, the depth and breadth of Alex Wolff's work has been inimitable,” Terry McDonell, Editor, Sports Illustrated Group. “He has written with a lyrical and literary grace in stories on Final Fours and NCAA tournaments, in profiles of the game's most influential figures, in investigative pieces that protected the very integrity of the game while the vision of his work pushed basketball to become truly international. There is no journalist who better embodies what Curt Gowdy meant to the game.”
Wolff has written five books, which include The In-Your-Face-Basketball Book, co-authored with Chuck Wielgus, about playground basketball in America; Raw Recruits, co-authored with CBS Sports correspondent Armen Keteyian, about corruption in college basketball recruiting; and Sports Illustrated's 100 Years of Hoops, on the history of basketball. His Big Game, Small World: A Basketball Odyssey, an account of a year spent chasing basketball around the world, was published in 2002.
In addition to his tremendous writing accomplishments, Wolff was also the founding owner of the Vermont Frost Heaves of the American Basketball Association from 2005-2009. He turned the franchise into one of the most innovative and successful league franchises, while winning ABA titles in 2007 and 2008. Raised in Rochester, New York, Wolff played a year of professional basketball in the Swiss basketball league before earning a history degree from Princeton in 1980.
Jim Durham, the 2011 Gowdy Award winner representing the 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. He has also called college basketball games and ESPN Major League Baseball games for ESPN.
"Jim is an NBA broadcasting legend and consummate professional,” said Norby Williamson, ESPN Executive Vice President, Production. “His delivery and passion for the game make every broadcast feel like a big event. We congratulate him on this well-deserved honor.”
Durham had been the television voice of the Dallas Mavericks from 1993 to 2001. He also served as radio and television commentator for the Chicago Bulls (1973-1991), Chicago White Sox television play-by-play announcer (1989-1990), and Houston Astros television commentator (1983-1985). Additionally, Durham also handled sports announcing chores for NBC, CBS and Turner Sports.
An accomplished veteran, Durham has been recognized with Illinois Sportscaster-of-the-Year honors in 1979, 1989 and 1990, and garnered Chicago Emmy Awards in 1989 and 1991. The Chicago native had the pleasure of calling the action during Michael Jordan’s first seven seasons in the Windy City, including his most memorable call of Jordan's game-winning "shot" in the 1989 NBA Playoffs against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Previous Curt Gowdy Media Award Winners
Year - Print/Electronic1990 - Dick Herbert/Curt Gowdy1991 - Dave Dorr/Marty Glickman1992 - Sam Goldaper/Chick Hearn1993 - Leonard Lewin/Johnny Most1994 - Leonard Koppett/Cawood Ledford1995 - Bob Hammel/Dick Enberg1996 - Bob Hentzen/Billy Packer1997 - Bob Ryan/Marv Albert1998 - Larry Donald & Dick Weiss/Dick Vitale1999 - Smith Barrier/Bob Costas2000 - Dave Kindred/Hubie Brown2001 - Curry Kirkpatrick/Dick Stockton2002 - Jim O’Connell/Jim Nantz2003 - Sid Hartman/Hot Rod Hundley2004 - Phil Jasner/Max Falkenstien2005 - Jack McCallum/Bill Campbell2006 - Mark Heisler/Bill Raftery2007 - Malcolm Moran/Al McCoy2008 - David DuPree/Bob Wolff2009 - Peter Vecsey/Doug Collins2010 - Jackie MacMullan/Joe Tait2011 - Alexander Wolff/Jim Durham
The Gowdy Awards will be presented at the Basketball Hall of Fame in a special ceremony scheduled for August 11. The award winners will also be recognized at the annual Enshrinement Ceremony, which will be held on Friday, August 12. For ticket information, please visit https://www.hoophall.com.