Prior to NBC, Costas once was TV voice of Bulls; vintage videos of young Bob

My latest Chicago Tribune column is on Bob Costas reflecting on all of his Chicago ties on his 40th anniversary in broadcasting.

You also can access the column via my Twitter feed at @Sherman_Report.

Thanks to The Museum of Classic Chicago Television for the picture of young Bob.

Also, check out these vintage clips of Costas via The Museum of Classic Chicago Television.

The Bulls promo featuring Costas in the yellow blazer.

An open to a Bulls game in Seattle. Note the camera angle is so far away, Costas seems as if he is in Portland.

From the column:


Bob Costas has covered so many Olympics, Super Bowls, World Series, U.S. Opens and other big events that they blur together. Yet there’s one entry on his resume that might surprise even hard-core basketball fans.

Costas was the play-by-play voice for the Bulls on WGN-9, calling 19 road games during the 1979-80 season.

Archive footage shows a very young Costas doing a Bulls promo wearing a rather hideous yellow WGN blazer (video).

“WGN had us give it back after the season, as if you’d want to wear that blazer in some swanky restaurant,” Costas said.

It was Rod Thorn, then the Bulls’ general manager, who brought the budding sportscaster to Chicago. They initially connected when Thorn was the coach and Costas did play-by-play for the ABA Spirits of St. Louis during the 1975-76 season.

The Bulls, terrible in the pre-Michael Jordan years, went 2-17 in the games Costas called. He was spared from watching more bad basketball because home games weren’t shown locally then and WGN did not televise all road games.

He, however, never will forget his WGN partner, Johnny “Red” Kerr.

“I’m 27 looking like I’m 14, and he treated me like a million bucks,” Costas said. “He was a great player, but he always played down his own abilities. Once I asked how he would defend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. He said, ‘I’d get as close as I could, breathe on him and try to fog up his goggles.'”


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