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John Andariese, longtime Knicks TV-radio analyst, dies at 78

New York Knicks commentator John Andariese contributes to

New York Knicks commentator John Andariese contributes to a broadcast during a game played circa 1991 at Madison Square Garden in Manhattan. Credit: NBAE / Getty Images / Nathaniel S. Butler

John Andariese, a popular longtime Knicks TV and radio analyst, died Monday at age 78, the team announced.

Andariese, who was nicknamed “Johnny Hoops,” played for Fordham in the late 1950s, starring on two NIT teams. He joined Marv Albert on radio starting in 1972-73 — the Knicks’ last championship season.

He later was MSG’s primary television analyst from 1986-98, paired with Albert for the Knicks’ successful mid-1990s run, before being replaced by Walt Frazier. But he continued on as a radio analyst through 2012.

At the time, Andariese said he had had enough of the NBA grind and was ready to explore other facets of life. He issued a statement that read, “After what seems like a lifetime behind the microphone and having the good fortune and privilege to be part of nearly 40 years of Knicks history, I’ve decided it’s time to step away to spend time with my wonderful wife, Maureen, my three beautiful daughters and my four grandchildren.”

He was honored in 2014 by the Basketball Hall of Fame as its Curt Gowdy Media Award winner. He also worked for national outlets such as ESPN and Turner.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement: “John ‘Johnny Hoops’ Andariese was a New York basketball legend who devoted his life to the game . . . His reassuring voice and extensive basketball knowledge endeared him to generations of New Yorkers. I knew John for 25 years, and he was a dear friend and a mentor. He was incredibly kind with his time and taught me so much about the game and sports television . . . The NBA family mourns his passing.”

As word of his death spread Monday night via social media, many fans reacted emotionally, recalling him as the voice of their childhoods — a definition that could cover more than one generation, given his long term in broadcasting.

Within the basketball and media communities, he was well-liked both personally and professionally as a New York City basketball lifer. He could be cutting in his criticism, but he often delivered it with deft jabs rather than body blows.

Andariese had been suffering from advanced dementia, the New York Post reported last week. Knicks television announcer Mike Breen and former Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy wished Andariese well during a nationally televised Warriors-Knicks game on March 5.

Breen visited Andariese at his Florida home the next day, the Post reported. Breen’s first season as the Knicks’ primary TV play-by-play man was Andariese’s last as the TV analyst.

MSG Network said in a statement: “We are very saddened by the news of John Andariese’s passing. John was a beloved broadcaster and New York icon whose love for the ‘City Game’ was second to none. He spent 34 years at MSG doing what he loved — calling Knicks games on radio and MSG Network — and his voice will live on with Knicks fans forever.”


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