Pizza With the Pros: Former Philadelphia 76ers Broadcaster Marc Zumoff Discusses Career and Tips to Success

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Former 76ers’ play-by-play legend Marc Zumoff visited Rowan University during this past Monday’s Pizza with the Pros, hosted by Director of Center for Sports Communication and Social Impact Neil Hartman.

In light of his recent retirement, Zumoff spoke to students on his journey, and what it takes to succeed in a competitive field like sports broadcasting. Students came prepared with a mix of lighthearted and heavy questions, but were no match for Zumoff’s over 40 years of experience. 

Zumoff remained poised throughout the event, opening discussion with students and noting his lack of awareness of the Philadelphia 76ers media day. The dialogue with the students on the difficult topics surrounding the team speaks to his cool factor, often required when calling games. 

Despite having a voice that commands the room, the 20-time Emmy winner mentions how a memorable voice only scratches the surface of what it takes to be a successful broadcaster.

In response to how to become a color-commentator, Zumoff pushed them to “exhibit a certain level of authentication and expertise.” He went on to mention that he would have never reached his potential if it were not for being a dedicated worker and person. 

Zumoff was questioned on his chemistry with long-time-color-commentator Alaa Abdelnaby and what was required to create that bond. He delved into how their religion, despite being different, was a conversation starter between the duo. Using religion as an example, Zumoff identified that his connection with Abdelnaby was on a deeper-than-basketball level.

Having coworkers who respect you on a personal basis proves vital in job searches and future job opportunities. This concept was highlighted for attending students to remember at the onset of  their careers. 

Perhaps Zumoff’s most consistent piece of advice was the importance of networking. He preached to the crowd of students that “You wanna kiss as much butt as possible,” often citing it as one of the most influential aspects of a young sports media career. 

Zumoff was well known for his unique phrases. Having to sit through one of the toughest eras of 76ers basketball, the well-tenured broadcaster fed fans with sound bites that felt like miniature victories in themselves. Quotes like “Hold on Alaa, we are coming in for a landing,” and “In no particular hurry” will leave an unfillable hole following his retirement. Zumoff commented how he was involved with the hiring process, but was not involved with any final decisions. 

Earlier this month the 76ers announced that Kate Scott will replace Marc Zumoff’s duties as play-by-play broadcaster for NBC Sports Philadelphia. Zumoff had high praises for Scott, noting her illustrious résumé as well as her trailblazing for women in the sports industry.

He expressed displeasure with how some fans have reacted negatively to the hiring, asking them to “Ignore the fact that she’s a woman. She’s awesome. She’s great. She does her homework.” Zumoff said he plans to have lunch with Scott later this week. 

After concluding his talk, Zumoff gave way to Joe Richmond — ambassador of basketball for the Delaware Blue Coats — the 76ers G-League affiliate.

Richmond, who spent countless unpaid hours helping out the Blue Coats team, tied into Zumoff’s point of making personal connections. Due to his unwavering effort and dedication for four years, a 76ers employee noticed him and got him on board almost immediately. His unique story helped drive the previously discussed points home.

Pizza with the Pros returns next Monday with former 76ers CEO, Scott O’Neil, coming to Rowan University. 

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