CLEVELAND (AP) – Joe Tait, a longtime sports broadcaster from Cleveland and the voice of the Cavaliers for more than four decades, died on Wednesday. He was 83 years old.
Tait recently went into hospice care after a lengthy test with kidney disease and liver cancer.
“A friend and mentor to many over the years, Joe Tait was not just a member of the Cavaliers family; he was part of the Cavs story like no other, and his voice and unique, honest perspective resonated throughout the team’s history, ”Cavs said in a statement. “He will miss her very much.”
Tait has been on the NBA team since its inception in 1970 until his retirement in 2011, playing over 3,000 games. In their final season, the Cavs honored Taita with a commemorative banner hanging alongside some of the team’s retired jerseys at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse rafters.
Sometimes a little rude when he disagreed with the judges’ call, Tait also had a few sayings like “Wham with his right hand!” after dunking.
“Joe was also known for his dry mind and pragmatic outlook on life, and he probably wouldn’t want a big, sentimental farewell,” Cavs said. “So, to paraphrase the legend, he himself – Let’s not say goodbye.” Let’s just say, “WISH GOOD NIGHT to everyone!”
Tait did radio and TV play-by-play for the Cleveland Indians for 16 seasons. He also invited games for the WNBA’s Cleveland Rockers, hockey for the Cleveland Crusaders and Mount Union football.
Tait was born in Evanston, Illinois. He began his radio career at Monmouth College (Illinois) before graduating in 1959. He planned to be a writer, but changed his career course after a professor sent him to record a basketball game and heard his call.
Tait also served three years in the army.
He was inducted into the media wing of the Naismith Hall of Fame in 2010.
There was no immediate information about the services. Longtime Cavaliers broadcaster Joe Tait is dead at 83