Marc Zumoff has seen it all during his 20 years calling 76ers game. Credit: Getty Images
Marc Zumoff grew up in Northeast Philadelphia with a dream of becoming the play-by-play announcer for the Philadelphia 76ers.
Consider that dream realized.
It’s been a storybook type of ride for Zumoff, who recently completed his 20th season as the play-by-play announcer for the Sixers. Zumoff’s dream will continue with the 2014-15 Sixers and he recently took some time to reflect on a number of topics with Metro.
What did you think of the Sixers’ decision to select Kansas’ Joel Embiid with the third overall pick in the NBA Draft?
If you’re the Sixers, it’s a pick you’re excited to make because you may not see another player like this. If healthy, Embiid will strengthen their defense. He’s coming off an in injury and will need time to heal, but if you’re the Sixers and their fans, you have to be excited about the potential of this kid. He’s got all the tools to become a great player in this league. Everyone will have to be patient, and I’m sure the Sixers will do their due diligence to make sure Embiid is ready to come back at the right point. You have to be psyched about this pick if you’re a fan.
After sitting out last season, what kind of impact do you think Nerlens Noel will make?
So far, you have to be fired up by how he reacted in the Summer Leagues. He played well and didn’t seem to have any issues with his knee. It’s all well and good and you want to protect him now so he’s ready for the regular season when it all counts. Let him work out now and get ready and get the rest he needs before the season. He has tremendous skills and can be the type of rim-protector the Sixers need. I think the fans are going to respond so positively to Noel with how hard he plays.
Have there been any players who stood out in Summer League?
That’s kind of like painting a broad brush because this is the time for players to showcase their skills to the coaching staff and show what they can do. Summer League is different than the regular season. The style of play, the tempo ... things are different. One player I’ve really noticed is Hollis Thompson. He had a chance to play last season and he has come back strong and ready to state his case. Hollis looks like he’s ready to take another step in terms of his progression. There are a number of other players who could out to be second-round gems. (General Manager) Sam Hinkie likes to acquire assets and he’s done a great job at doing just that.
Having been around coach Brett Brown for more than a year, what are your thoughts?
Brett has great energy and respect for the game and his players. He has a plan and he sticks with it. Watching him on a daily basis, he’s terrific at communicating with players and working with players. If he has something to communicate, he’ll do it in a constructive way. The players all respect him. He has long-term goals and a long-term mission with this franchise and he hasn’t deviated from the plan. It’s so impressive to be around him and watch how he relates and works with players. He’ll work with the last guy on the bench the same way he’ll work with an All-Star. He truly cares and it shows. He’s such a smart basketball coach and this organization is lucky to have him.
Last season was your 20th as the Sixers’ play-by-play announcer. Can you believe it?
I always go back to my childhood as a kid growing up in Northeast Philadelphia. I’ve been following the Sixers and the NBA since 1963. I fell in love with it when I was 8 years old. I turned the sound down and became the voice of the Sixers. To think ahead to where I am now and what I’m doing professionally, it’s really surreal. I’m a lucky, lucky man.
You have a passion for the sport of soccer and recently broadcast a Philadelphia Union match for Comcast SportsNet. Can you talk about your love for soccer?
I really do love the game. It was a great learning experience to broadcast the Union match. I saw things up in the booth that I didn’t notice down in the stands when I was just going to a game. It was a thrill to call the game. I had great support from the organization and I was like a sponge learning from the Union. They were wonderfully supportive and helped me in the four days leading up to the match. I couldn’t have done it without them.