Brooklyn Boro

Spencer Ross: The Michael Jordan of sportscasters

October 25, 2021 Andy Furman
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He’s the Michael Jordan of sportscasters.

Well, almost.

Jordan collected six championship rings while playing for the Chicago Bulls in the NBA.

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Spencer Ross, has called play-by-play for every professional New York metropolitan area sports franchise, including the Yankees of MLB, the Nets and Knicks of the NBA and, in the NHL for the New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders and New York Rangers.

And one season with the Boston Celtics.

The New Utrecht High School graduate was also the TV voice for Racing at Yonkers and Roosevelt on WOR-TV, Channel 9. 

Jordan for all his achievements is enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass.

The 80-year-old Ross is already placed in four – and waiting on another two invites.

He’s a member of the New York State Baseball and Basketball Hall; the New York City Basketball Hall of Fame; and the Brooklyn Hall.

If you’re keeping score: Ross: 5 and waiting on 6 Jordan: 1

The Florida State alum tells the Eagle he’s waiting on a call from the Florida Hall.

“It’s the Brooklyn Hall that I’ll cherish the most,” he said. “I have a special warmth and love for the city – yes Brooklyn is more than just a borough.”

He claims you can start an NBA Championship team with the talent that played here.

“There was Billy Cunningham (Erasmus Hall), Roger Brown (Wingate), Lenny Wilkens (Boys), Connie Hawkins (Boys), Chris Mullin (Xaverian) and Bernard King (Fort Hamilton) — the list is mind boggling,” he said.

“And don’t forget Marty Glickman,” he adds.

Ross can’t – and won’t.

Glickman, the James Madison star, called New York Giants and Jets games on radio, and was the voice of the Knicks before Marv Albert and Ross got behind the microphone.

“He gave me my start,” Ross said. “Got me my gig calling the then New Jersey Americans in the ABA before they were the New York, then Brooklyn Nets. We became dear friends.”

While Ross is waiting to enter the Brooklyn Sports Hall of Fame, he remembered “Hammering Hank” Whitney.

“Hank played on the ’67-68 New Jersey Americans,” Ross recalled, “the first year they played in the ABA. Their games were in the Teaneck (NJ) Armory.”

Whitney played in 37 games, averaged 16 points-per-game for a team that won 36 of 78 games.

In fact, Whitney, an Iowa State grad – he was 6-7, 230-pounds – was drafted by the then NBA Syracuse Nationals in 1961 and had stints at several short-lived ABA teams.

There’s more to the Whitney story.

A Brooklyn native, he attended Manhattan’s High School of Fashion Industries. After basketball, he worked his way up the ranks of the New York City Board of Education and became a licensed principal, joining the ranks as one of the city’s top educators.

He became a devoted and totally involved community leader in Brooklyn. He was among the founders of the Brooklyn USA Athletic Association.

“And,” added Ross, “he was instrumental in the formation of the Brooklyn Sports Hall of Fame.”

When Whitney passed in April of 2020 at the age of 80, the Brooklyn Hall practically stopped operating, Ross said.

“That’s why I haven’t officially been enshrined,” Ross said, “although I was notified, I had made it.”

Whitney finished his collegiate career with over 1,100 rebounds and has been a charter member of the American Basketball Association, Jersey Americans, the New Jersey Nets and now the Brooklyn Nets of the NBA.

Whitney is a member of the New York City Basketball Hall of Fame.

Now it’s time for the Brooklyn Nets to step-up and take care of one of their own. The Nets should operate the Brooklyn Sports Hall of Fame and include all memorabilia in the Barclays Center.

It’ll be a home for Spencer Ross and others.

But more importantly, it would be a nice thank-you for “Hammering Hank” Whitney.

Andy Furman is a Fox Sports Radio national talk show host. Previously, he was a scholastic sports columnist for the Brooklyn Eagle. He may be reached at: [email protected]

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  1. jeffrey zaslofsky

    Loved listening to Spencer Ross when he did the play by play for the NJ Americans and NY nets of the ABA. My Dad Max Zaslofsky were the teams first coach. Spencer was a gifted announcer who brought excitement to the new league, and remembering the late Hank Whitney on that team is wonderful a real Gentleman.