The Devil's Dish

2014 Cronkite High School Summer Journalism Institute

Al McCoy reflects on his Hall of Fame career

Phoenix Suns broadcaster Al McCoy for the past 42 years to be admitted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame

By Victor Venegas
“Shazam!”

“Heartbreak hotel!”

These are two of the phrases that have made Phoenix Suns announcer Al McCoy famous. 42 years later, these phrases have helped put him in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.

Al McCoy will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on Thursday, Sept. 6 in Springfield, Massachusetts, the birthplace of basketball. McCoy will receive this award for his contributions to the Phoenix Suns.

McCoy was “shocked” upon hearing that he would receive the Curt Gowdy Media Award, which is given to one member of electronic media and one print who has contributed greatly to the NBA.

He describes the recognition as the “highest point in [his] career.”

McCoy was born and raised on a small farm in Williams, Iowa. From a young age, McCoy had dreams of broadcasting sports.

Al McCoy discusses his career to aspiring journalists.

Photo by Hayley Gorman Al McCoy discusses his career to aspiring journalists.

McCoy graduated from Drake University with a degree in drama-speech with a minor in journalism.

His career in broadcasting began in Iowa, as a freshman in college. McCoy worked all the jobs in production, from disk jockey to programmer, developing a extensive skill set that made him a more attractive option to potential employers.

McCoy began his career in Arizona in 1958, broadcasting for minor league baseball teams. He then became the Phoenix Suns broadcaster in 1972, after proposing to the franchise to allow him to handle all broadcasting finances. This was a more profitable option for the Phoenix Suns.

McCoy found inspiration for his signature phrases such as “Shazam” from a comic book of the time, Captain Marvel. “Heartbreak Hotel,” is from an Elvis Presley song.

In McCoy’s entire career, he has only missed one game due to illness. He also has broadcasted the only triple overtime games in NBA Finals history.

McCoy ended his mock press conference with some words of wisdom:

“Always keep going. Set your goals very high; they’re always attainable. But realize you always are not going to achieve that goal on the first step; just know there are going to be other steps to take. Take them with pride and with hard work—great things do happen. I’m a living example.”

 

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