Jim Durham Was a Giant of a Man
by Mark Boyle
November 5, 2012
Jim Durham passed away a few days ago, and for those of us that called him a friend and a colleague, it's a staggering blow.
Jim was one of the greatest play-by-play broadcasters the NBA has ever known, and while that's impressive enough to stand alone as a reason to admire him, that's not the reason his passing is such a blow. After all, there are a lot of great play-by-play broadcasters in our league, and while Jim's name would be included in any reasonable conversation regarding the best of all time, there are enough others in that conversation that reasonable minds could disagree.
No, Jim's talent is only a part of the equation. In a back-biting business loaded with self-important blowhards—and we've all had our trips into Self-Important Blowhard Land… the trick is not to stay too long—I never heard anyone say anything remotely negative about Jim, which is really saying something. By the time I came into the NBA, Jim had already been around well over a decade and established himself as someone for the rest of us to emulate. Because of his stature, he could have big-timed me or ignored me, but that wasn't Jim's way. Instead, he went out of his way to make me feel welcome and treated me as though I were his equal professionally, which certainly was not the case. He was never too busy to talk, and while he never presumed to offer advice, he was always more than willing to listen and offer an observation if asked.
In short, he was a class act, and his kindness was something I always appreciated. Over the years, it has become something of a cliché to observe that an accomplished professional in any field may have been great, but he was an even better person. Most of the time, a cliché is all it is, but not this time. Jim Durham was a legend in our industry and a giant of a man, and he will be missed tremendously.
But he will never be forgotten.