Photograph by Craig Blankenhorn/CBS
Got a minute? The legendary sportscaster Greg Gumbel talks about one-on-one against his brother Bryant, the mayhem of March Madness, and why he avoids office pools.
Q: After having covered both the NBA and NCAA, which do you prefer?
A: I can't say I didn't enjoy the NBA in my early days at ESPN and MSG. But I think that even the NBA players have decided that there is nothing quite like the NCAA tournaments. Everybody watches.
Q: How far in advance of the selection show do you receive the brackets?
A: It varies. Sometimes we don't get them until 10 minutes, 15 minutes prior to the show. And then we get to pretend we know what we are talking about.
Q: Who gives them to you? Do they come in a sealed envelope, Oscar-style?
A: We get them faxed to us, straight from the committee. It's funny—last year I was flying up to New York for selection weekend and this guy was sitting next to me on the plane. He says, "So who's going to be in the tournament?" and I said, "No one will until I tell you."
Q: Have you ever beat Billy Packer in a March Madness office pool?
A: I don't ever do that. I don't fill out a bracket. We go through this process week after week about who's in this tournament and who's out—and people stalk me.
Q: Since you've covered the NFL, what do you think about the NFL chief Roger Goodell taking a pay cut following layoffs?
A: I thought it was a pretty magnanimous gesture of Roger's—and especially in light of the fact that the commissioner of Major League Baseball got a raise and does 10 times a worse job. I mean, what do you think about this drug problem? Who else do we blame?
Q: Who would win in a game of hoops, you or your newscaster brother, Bryant? He strikes me as the kind of guy who might throw some elbows on the court.
A: Me. I am taller than he is. But I know for a fact that Bryant could beat me playing golf—blindfolded. I've played golf once in my entire life and hated it. But we are really not competitive. We like it better that way. Vanessa Rothschild