The Chicago Tribune’s Eric Zorn writes about Bob Greenberg, who died this week.
Despite going blind shortly after birth, Greenberg still pursued a career in broadcasting. He was a fixture in the Chicago press boxes and locker rooms.
And yes, as Zorn writes, Greenberg was a mix of amazing and annoying.
Greenberg lost his sight shortly after birth but never considered that a reason not to pursue a career in sports broadcasting — a particularly bravura goal given that the disabled were even more pigeonholed then than they are today.
He sat in the press box and interviewed athletes in the locker room at major Chicago sporting events for more than a decade. That he achieved his goal was a heartwarming story.
But Greenberg was not a particularly heartwarming guy. He was loud and blustery, stubborn and occasionally obnoxious. He was known to push his way clumsily through media scrums, interrupt other reporters’ interviews and even play “the blind card” to get reluctant athletes to talk to him.
It probably served him well. Once the novelty of being a blind sportscaster wears off, you have to bring the goods — get the tape, know your stuff — because no one’s going to hand them to you out of pity.
Without going into details, Zorn notes there was the story of Greenberg sticking his microphone in an inappropriate place. The story, if I remember correctly, was that Greenberg plunged the mic in between Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s butt cheeks while asking a question.
“What do ya think, Kareem?”
Jabbar jumped about 10 feet in the air.
Yes, Greenberg truly was a memorable man.