From Ali to Tyson, Jim Gray looks back on decades of conversation with GOATS. – Boxing Sports

With 43 years under his belt and a reputation as one of the greats of sports casting, Jim Gray has a career unlike any other, complete with 12 Emmy Awards and the spots of the International Boxing Hall of Fame to prove it. I am.

But if he was like most people, he might have set everything aside after the first interview. I assumed that when an 18-year-old intern turned to a videotape editor in 1978, it wouldn’t be better than talking to Muhammad Ali. Denver, Colorado.

“That was the exact opposite,” Gray laughed. “I was starting to thirst and wanted to do it again. I thought,” Wow, that was really cool. Let’s see if we can do it again. “It wants me more. I urged you to thirst. “

He got more than he had expected, or more than anyone could dream of. From the ringside and NBA courtside of the world’s biggest battles to the NFL and major league baseball, to almost every sporting field in between, Gray has seen it all. He has recorded his career in his new book, Talking. To GOATS “.

He focuses not only on his career, but also on relationships with superstars such as Ali, Mike Tyson, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Tom Brady, Tiger Woods, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Michael Jordan. Created with Sports Illustrated’s Greg Bishop, it’s a fast and compelling reading, and you need to leave one thought when it’s all over.

What a life.

“It was fun to look back and it’s kind of funny because I don’t know what’s going on until I start putting everything together,” Gray, 61. “Greg Bishop, who wrote the book with me, is a great job. The guy was great, I really appreciate him, and I can’t believe how he put this together. We I’m talking about tens of thousands of events, interviews, and all sorts of things. It’s been 43 years. It really quickly disappeared and I’ve had great experiences one after another added to this collection. I’m always pinching myself. I’m lucky and I know a lot of people helped me in the process, so I don’t take it for granted, but to make it happen I also know that there was a helpful effort and dedication. “

You may be wondering when Gray sleeps just by reading about the direct flights from venue to venue each season. When the ring caught up with him on November 24th, it was the morning after Monday Night Football, two days away from the NFL’s further work on Thanksgiving. Adding the media obligation to promote this book, it’s not easy to call Gray one of the most hard-working men in business.

But staying at the forefront of the world’s largest sporting event didn’t come overnight. Gray spent days sitting in the auxiliary press section in the fight, but wasn’t discouraged.

“When I sat there, I wasn’t just happy to be there, but I kept thinking,’Someday I’ll get down to where others are,'” he said. “If I could devote myself to this, accept the rejection, endure all the trials and hardships you have to experience, and do it with a smile and an attitude of understanding, I knew this was the right place. Right now, but this isn’t going to be everything in my life. I didn’t even know if the punch was being thrown, but I was there. And that’s the beginning. I did it. I didn’t watch it on TV. I put it in the arena. “

(From left to right) Steve Albert, Jim Gray, Mike Tyson. Image provided by IBHOF on Twitter

Ali’s interview led to working with Bob Arum on top-ranked broadcasts and then with Don King on the DKP show. In recent years, Gray has been a staple of showtime boxing shows and has participated in the recent Mike Tyson-Roy Jones Jr. exhibition. Throughout his life, he has built a reputation as a hold-ban reporter who is not afraid to ask tough questions. Sometimes this led to some nasty exchanges, but what’s interesting is that the two have a long-standing friendship, despite sometimes controversial interviews with something like “Iron Mike”. .. The same is true for Gray’s relationship with Brady and the late Bryant. They all received in-depth questions from time to time.

“It was because I had to do it,” Gray said about asking questions that many wouldn’t. “I had to satisfy my natural curiosity. I had to do it for the people I work with, and for the audience. All of them Basically in all cases I understand that. They know what you have to do. And they have choices. No one needs to be interviewed. Requirements and facts There is no obligation. If the right holder asks the participant to do something for the interview, it may be a normal fare, but especially when they do something that raises questions about their performance. If you know that, you don’t have to do an interview. I wonder what they did outside the ring, outside the field, or outside the court. It’s now in the public domain. I think they respected the fact that they knew I had to do my job. It was never sneaky, malicious or malicious. What happened? I’m just trying to get information about why it happened and how it happened. I knew what would happen if everyone understood it and agreed to do an interview. I don’t think it affected the actual relationship I had with someone. “

And looking back at some of the interviews that are filled over YouTube and taken up honestly in the book, the biggest compliment he can pay to Gray is that he was fair. It has always been his profit.

“I tried to be objective and fair,” he agrees. “That’s why I tried to act with everyone in every way.”

That is reflected in his work. If you dig deeper into the work, not just boxing, it’s like watching a masterclass on how to interview someone. Gray quickly diverts such praise and instead focuses on the broadcast pros he has teamed up with.

Manny Pacquiao and Gray.

“If you’re a good reporter and you’re working, you’re fit for television,” he said. “I’ll get along with Steve Albert and Gus (Johnson), Al Bernstein and Mauro (Lanalo), or Bob Costas and Marv Albert, Bill Walton. If I’m bad, I’ll I’m going to stick out like a painful thumb. So you don’t want to do that. I want to be able to reach the level of professionalism of the other members of the team. “

Many of his crafts are also from the early days of Denver.

“When I started, I was a videotape editor. It’s really great for editing others to see where they’re doing well and where they’re making mistakes. It was an exercise, “Gray said. “And as an editor I correct my mistakes. I was able to edit something that didn’t fit the story. I learned to be an editor, so when I started asking myself, I I was in the booth watching what was good and what was bad. “

As soon as he finished his work, he turned on the studio TV and saw the duel between Ted Koppel and Johnny Carson on late-night TV, and found that it was just beginning.

“Being in the editorial booth taught me not only what was good and what was bad, but also how to listen. And if I could hear, interpret and react to the information, I would work in this profession, There was something that could lead to a decent career. “

While he has more than a decent career and is respected in all the sports he covers, he probably makes more sense in boxing, where he is a Hall of Fame than anyone else. So the question for those who are used to putting them on a plate when turning the table is what boxing meant to him.

“I love boxing,” Gray said. “I love boxing people. I love what I experienced in boxing. Boxing gave me my start. So I’m always for the whole sport and for those who participate in it at all levels I’m going to have a very soft place in my mind. Boxing opened many doors to me and helped me establish myself. I am very grateful for this sport I love and are attracted to the people who participate in the sport.

“The boxers get in there on their own, so they give you the most honest answer,” he continues. “They aren’t hiding. They don’t have an organization or coach. They take responsibility and responsibility for themselves because they can’t blame their teammates. That doesn’t mean they always behave correctly. It doesn’t mean that the sport is free of many quirks and flaws and that you get a lot in your own way, but at the root of it are the many wonderful people I have been able to observe and see their victories and tragedy. It was spectacular. “

– Boxing Sports

From Ali to Tyson, Jim Gray looks back on decades of conversation with GOATS. From Ali to Tyson, Jim Gray looks back on decades of conversation with GOATS.

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