Jeffrey S. Gurock

Dec 9, 2023

Marty Glickman

The Life of an American Jewish Sports Legend

New York University Press 2023

For close to half a century after World War II, Marty Glickman was the voice of New York sports. His distinctive style of broadcasting, on television and especially on the radio, garnered for him legions of fans who would not miss his play-by-play accounts. From the 1940s through the 1990s, he was as iconic a sports figure in town as the Yankees’ Mickey Mantle, the Knicks’ Walt Frazier, or the Jets’ Joe Namath. His vocabulary and method of broadcasting left an indelible mark on the industry, and many of today’s most famous sportscasters were Glickman disciples. To this very day, many fans who grew up listening to his coverage of Knicks basketball and Giants football games, among the myriad of events that Glickman covered, recall fondly, and can still recite, his descriptions of actions in arenas and stadiums. In Marty Glickman: The Life of an American Jewish Sports Legend (NYU Press, 2023), Jeffrey S. Gurock showcases the life of this important contributor to American popular culture.

In addition to the stories of how he became a master of American sports airwaves, Marty Glickman has also been remembered as a Jewish athlete who, a decade before he sat in front of a microphone, was cynically barred from running in a signature track event in the 1936 Olympics by anti-Semitic American Olympic officials. This lively biography details this traumatic event and explores not only how he coped for decades with that painful rejection but also examines how he dealt with other anti-Semitic and cultural obstacles that threatened to stymie his career. Glickman’s story underscores the complexities that faced his generation of American Jews as these children of immigrants emerged from their ethnic cocoons and strove to succeed in America amid challenges to their professional and social advancement. Marty Glickman is a story of adversity and triumph, of sports and minority group struggles, told within the context of the prejudicial barriers that were common to thousands, if not millions, of fellow Jews of his generation as they aimed to make it in America.

Paul Knepper covered the New York Knicks for Bleacher Report. His first book, The Knicks of the Nineties: Ewing, Oakley, Starks and the Brawlers That Almost Won It All was published in 2020. You can reach Paul at paulknepper@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @paulieknep.

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Paul Knepper

Paul Knepper used to cover the Knicks for Bleacher Report. His first book, The Knicks of the Nineties: Ewing, Oakley, Starks and the Brawlers That Almost Won It All was published in September 2020. You can reach Paul at paulknepper@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @paulieknep.

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