CLEVELAND — Joe Tait, a longtime Cleveland sports broadcaster and voice of the Cavaliers for more than four decades, died Wednesday. He was 83.
Tait had recently gone into hospice care following a lengthy batter with kidney disease and liver cancer.
“A friend and mentor to many over the years, Joe Tait wasn’t just a member of the Cavaliers family; he was a part of the Cavs story like no one else and his voice and unique, candid perspective reverberates throughout the team’s history,” the Cavs said in a statement. “He will be dearly missed.”
Tait was with the NBA team from its inception in 1970 until he retired in 2011, calling over 3,000 games. In his final season, the Cavs honoured Tait with a commemorative banner that hangs alongside some of the team's retired jersey numbers in the rafters of Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
Sometimes a little gruff when he didn't agree with a referees' call, Tait also had several signature sayings like “Wham with the right hand!” following a dunk.
“Joe was also famous for his dry wit and his pragmatic view of life and probably wouldn’t have wanted a big, sentimental sendoff,” the Cavs said. "So, to paraphrase the legend, himself – Let’s not say: ‘goodbye.’ Let’s just say: “Have a GOOD night, everybody!’”
Tait did radio and TV play-by-play for the Cleveland Indians for 16 seasons. He also called games for the WNBA's Cleveland Rockers, Cleveland Crusaders hockey and Mount Union football.
He was inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame media wing in 2010.
There were no immediate information on services.
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Tom Withers, The Associated Press