John Andariese Rumors
When we stepped inside the media entrance on 33rd Street, the security guard at the door gave Andariese a big, warm hello. Andariese returned it — calling the man by his first name. That’s the way it was at Madison Square Garden, not just for Andariese but especially for Andariese, who was what’s known as a mensch, a generous soul as pleased to know you as you were to know him. He big-timed no one; he was incapable. Newly hired MSG Network production assistants were able to tell their friends that John Andariese “the Knicks announcer” knew them by name; they even swapped basketball talk. Such is read as unsurprising to those who knew Andariese, and what MSG Network listeners, TV and radio, could sense without having met him.
Certain “restrictions” were placed on MSG Network personnel, including Andariese, who no longer were permitted to speak with those who covered Garden teams or its network without the conversation being “monitored” by a Garden operative. Andariese and I continued to speak — we held comically clandestine telephone conversations — but we refused to play by such rules. For his protection, I never again quoted him unless it was something he said on the air.
At a Knicks game late in 2012, Andariese, 73, just retired and showing symptoms of growing dementia, was honored with the Dick McGuire Knicks Legacy Award. As Andariese and his family walked to center court from their seats, close to Dolan’s, Dolan never made a move to congratulate or even acknowledge him. Same after the ceremony. When Andariese returned to his seat, Dolan just sat there.
Andariese had a long association with the Knicks, beginning his broadcasting career as the team’s radio analyst for the 1972-73 season along side Marv Albert. He later worked the 1976-77 season and from 1982-86 and from 1998-2014. For 12 years he teamed up with Albert on TV before returning to radio. In 1983, Andariese became the first color commentator for the “NBA on ESPN.” He also worked for the “NBA on TBS” and added 10 years as a college basketball analyst. For his work, he was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2014 as the Curt Gowdy Award winner.