Jack Whitaker finally will get his due Monday night. The legendary sports broadcaster will be honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 33rd Annual Sports Emmy Awards in New York.
You have to wonder why it took the Academy so long to get to Whitaker. Surely, they heard his wonderful lyrical essays on CBS and then ABC. He was a pioneer, showing sports on television could be about words as well as pictures. Perhaps even more so.
When Frank Gifford was given his lifetime award in 1997, he said:
To have a Sports Emmy Lifetime Achievement Award without Jack Whitaker on the list is hard to believe. He was the best of the best, a great friend and a terrific colleague.
For some mysterious reason, it took the Academy another 15 years to heed Gifford’s suggestion. Thankfully, Whitaker, 87, still is around to enjoy this honor. He will be presented by Jim Nantz, who learned his lessons well from Whitaker.
To see what made Whitaker so great, check out this video narrated by Brent Musburger. After you watch it, you’ll ask yourself: Why did they wait so long?