For fans of college basketball’s NCAA tournament, Jim Nantz’s name has become synonymous with the Final Four. The Jim Nantz era came to an end, however, as Nantz emotionally announced his retirement from the event after 32 years as the voice of the Final Four.
Nantz put on another magnificent performance as he called the championship game between Connecticut and San Diego State University, cementing his legacy as one of the greatest sports broadcasters of all time. While UCONN celebrated their victory, Nantz took a break from describing the action on the court to thank his friends, family, and fans for the opportunity that they gave him. He said:
“One thing I learned through all of this is everybody has a dream and everybody has a story to tell. Just try to find that story. Be kind. Can I tell you one other thing? I mean this, and not to try to play off, ‘Hello friends,’ but to you, everybody in the college game. My CBS family, my family, all the viewers. Thank you for being my friend.”
"Thank you for being my friend"
Jim Nantz with some amazing words as he wraps up his final National Title Game ❤️ pic.twitter.com/NtxPkxzcAp
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) April 4, 2023
CBS Sports released a short documentary on Twitter to commemorate Jim Nantz and his long tenure at the event. For 37 years, the video claims, Nantz has been present at the big game. As the video rolls, showing all of biggest moments from March Madness past, it becomes clear why Nantz was held in such high esteem by fans of college basketball. For every miracle three-point shot and rim-rattling slam dunk, Nantz was there, on the microphone, making the call.
Behind every great sports moment, there’s a storyteller.
For decades, Jim Nantz has been the storyteller of the Men's Final Four. pic.twitter.com/8DPVx2WZki
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) April 1, 2023
By no means does this means that Jim Nantz will no longer be seen and heard on sports broadcasts. This weekend, he will once again be on the microphone at Augusta National covering the Masters. Nantz spoke about the future of his broadcasting career in a November interview with Sports Illustrated. When asked if his stepping away from basketball meant his career was coming to a close, Nantz said:
“I’m not even close to that. I just signed a very long-term contract. And in that contract, I basically spelled out exactly what’s happening right now and I’ll be doing the NFL for a long, long time with Tony.”
“Everything eventually comes to an end, as they say. I think that the NFL and golf will probably run a pretty parallel track. I hope to be doing both for a long time.”
“It’s been a decision that’s been a long time in the making. I could’ve made this decision years ago, but I love it so much and ultimately my desire to be with my children outweighed my love of being involved in 15 games in 23 days, every one of which is a joy to broadcast.”
Next year’s March Madness will not feel the same without the the commanding voice of Jim Nantz. For many fans who grew up only seeing the event covered by Nantz, there will be an audible wake up call at tip off in the Final Four. As some other voice calls the games, they will undoubtedly be measured against the legendary performances of Jim Nantz.
The featured image is a screenshot from an embedded Tweet.
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