Written by Marc Narducci
October 31, 2006
Marc Zumoff and Steve Mix have been announcing 76ers games on television for so long that they predate Allen Iverson.
Iverson is entering his 11th season, but Zumoff and Mix are beginning their 13th together. The chemistry that these two display is apparent in their work. Rarely does one trip over the other while talking. And rarely have two people with such different personalities meshed so well together.
Mix played 13 seasons in the NBA, including nine with the Sixers. Zumoff, a graduate of Philadelphia’s George Washington High and Temple University, spent his entire life rooting for the Sixers.
“I think we sort of relish in the fact that we are both different,” Zumoff said. “He is a former athlete from the Midwest and I’m by far not a former athlete from the East.”
And there are other differences. “We view politics, movies, art different and have busted on each other enough that we have a healthy respect for each other,” Zumoff said. “I guess in some ways opposites attract.”
At least on the air they do.
Mix, as he does on the air, explained the chemistry he has with Zumoff in simple terms.
“The main thing with all of us and that includes [senior director of broadcasting] Sean Oleksiak and [television director] J.R. Aguila is that we all like each other,” Mix said. “Because of that reason we respect each other’s abilities and it kind of shows on the air.”
This preseason the 58-year-old Mix received a better insight into the life of an NBA coach because he was one – at least for a few weeks.
Mix was asked to work as part of the coaching staff with the Sixers’ big men during the entire preseason. He said he has thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity. ”
The one thing that I have learned is I have a better understanding what these coaches go through on a daily basis,” Mix said. “The time, effort and hours they go through to putting out a better product has given me a better understanding of coaching in the NBA.”
As a player and broadcaster, Mix is entering his 23d season with the Sixers, but he still trails Zumoff in that department.
Zumoff is entering his 25th year with the team after beginning on Sixers telecasts in 1982-83, the season they won the NBA championship. He hosted the halftime and postgame shows before becoming the full-time play-by-play man prior to the 1994-95 season.
“It’s unbelievable,” Zumoff said. “I’m sitting courtside calling games for the team I grew up rooting for.”
The 50-year-old Zumoff has won nine Emmy awards and has broadcast NBA games nationally over the years for TNT and NBA TV during the postseason.
“When you watch Marc, you see a true professional, a guy who puts in a lot and really worked hard to become the 76ers announcer,” Mix said.
Like Zumoff, Mix hasn’t lost his enthusiasm for the job, something that helps keep the telecasts fresh.
“How can you not enjoy this, it’s basketball,” Mix said. “I will be 59 in December and still enjoy watching it and doing all the things I have been doing.”
Both announcers feel the Sixers will be better than the bleak preseason forecasts, many of which predict them missing the playoffs. Last season, with a 38-44 record, they failed to qualify.
“After being with the Sixers last month, this team will be better than last year,” Mix said. “These guys have worked exceptionally hard from Allen [Iverson] to the last guy on the roster, and I think you will see improvement on the defensive end.”
If the players can exhibit the same type of chemistry that Zumoff and Mix have at the microphone, then improvement could indeed occur.