Joe Tait died Wednesday at 83. If you were unfamiliar with his work, that’s totally understood. He was synonymous, except for two seasons, with the Cavaliers, its first radio voice in 1970 and until he retired in 2011. But for one NBA season, 1981-82, he was ours, calling Nets’ games on WVNJ and WWRL, stations with such limited signals and impact Tait’s calls could barely be heard in the parking lot. But he was, according to sports radio historian David Halberstam, “among the very best to call games on radio. You just closed your eyes and he transported you to the game. You saw it all.”
Joe Tait, the legendary "Voice of Cleveland Cavaliers" basketball for the bulk of their first four decades of existence, has died at the age of 83. His daughter Karen confirmed the news on Facebook, saying her father passed away peacefully in his sleep at his home in Lafayette Township Wednesday afternoon. The longtime broadcaster had been battling numerous health problems for years.
While at Monmouth, he befriended the head basketball coach at another small college, and when that coach later got a job in the NBA, Tait wrote to congratulate him and joked that he was available to help, if needed. That coach was none other than Bill Fitch, the man chosen to lead the expansion Cavaliers in 1970. He asked Tait to audition for the role as the team's radio play-by-play voice, and the organization eventually hired him with their inaugural season already under way.
June 17, 2021 | 4:21 pm EDT Update
Adrian Wojnarowski: Rick Carlisle — who led Dallas to the 2011 NBA championship — informed Mavericks owner Mark Cuban today that he won’t be returning as coach next season, Carlisle told ESPN. Carlisle had two years left on his contract. He spent 13 seasons as Mavericks coach.
Tim MacMahon: There had been simmering tension between Luka Doncic and Rick Carlisle that was a concern within the Mavs organization. The expectation was that he’d return next season, but he’d have been on the hot seat.
With Chris Paul in the COVID-19 protocol and his playing status uncertain, the Suns may rely on Cameron Payne even more. Judging from the past several months, Payne will be ready. “I’ve found my niche on a great team,” Payne said. “I just want to keep pushing that forward. You’ve got to be humble and stay hungry. Because you can be out of this league in a heartbeat and I don’t want that to happen again.”
Payne said he’s leaned on the support from his family during the tough times and they’re a constant presence in the stands at Phoenix Suns Arena. They’re enjoying the guard’s resurgence and playoff run just as much as Payne. “When you’re in a marriage that works, it’s just awesome,” Payne’s dad Tony said. “Phoenix is good for him, and he’s good for Phoenix. The style of play really fits, they allow him to be up tempo, he sees the floor real well. Phoenix plays a wide open style and allows him to shoot the 3.”
June 17, 2021 | 4:00 pm EDT Update
After Nikola Jokic’s decision, two more NBAers have been added to Serbia’s list of players who decided not to join in this summer for the Olympics – Aleksej Pokusevski and Alen Smailagic. The two young prospects decided to prepare for the next season with their teams.