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'History's' Announcers Spoke With one Voice

December 01, 1991|STEVEN HERBERT

In an industry filled with ego and insecurity, gathering six of the most famous television sportscasters to work on one show could have broken down into a disastrous bickering session.

Instead, Jim Lampley called it, "A warm, friendly day, as much fun as I've had doing television."

Lampley has been removed from the insular world of network sports broadcasting since leaving ABC Sports in 1987, after working there for 13 years. He was apprehensive entering the October session for "Play by Play: A History of Sports Television" in New York.

"I've always gotten along tremendously well with Bob (Costas)," said Lampley, who now anchors KCBS' evening newscasts and announces HBO's boxing matches and Wimbledon tennis coverage. "We are from the same generation and generally have same the outlook on sports and television. I knew it would be fun to see him.

"My relationship with Jim (McKay) when I worked at ABC was friendly but at a distance because he knew I was coming after some of his stuff. That was always acknowledged between us. Before I left, I had moved into his chair at the Indianapolis 500, the New York City Marathon and hosting 'Wide World of Sports.' There had been kind of a professional tension between us then.

"Brent (Musburger) and I had always stood at arms' length. There were at least two occasions when he was still at CBS and I was sitting in the host chair at ABC and doing a lot of studio work when questions arose as to whether I might want to go to CBS and do some of the stuff he was doing. There was always a bit of mutual examination going on there."

But Lampley's fears were not realized.

"It was fantastic," Lampley said. "That kind of friendliness that we shared will show up in the program. There was no jealousy or one-upmanship. Jim McKay and I never had a friendlier day together. Brent was more relaxed and down to earth and self-effacing than I'd ever seen him in any circumstance. I admired him for it. It was great fun to see."

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