Jim Durham, ESPN's lead radio play-by-play voice on the NBA and a former broadcaster for the Chicago Bulls and Dallas Mavericks, died Sunday at his home in Tomball, Texas (outside Houston). He was 65. No cause of death was announced.
Durham had called NBA games on ESPN Radio since 1996. His final assignment alongside his longtime partner, Dr. Jack Ramsay, was Tuesday night's season opener between Boston and Miami.
Durham was the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame's Curt Gowdy Media Award winner in 2011.
In addition to his ESPN duties, Durham was the radio and television voice of the Bulls from 1973-91, including the first seven seasons of Michael Jordan's tenure with the team. His final season with the Bulls coincided with the team's first championship
He also called Chicago White Sox games on TV in 1989-90 and was the TV voice of the Houston Astros from 1983-85. He was the TV voice of the Mavericks from 1993-2001. In his career, he worked for NBC, CBS and Turner Sports in addition to ESPN.
Durham was the Illinois Sportscaster of the Year in 1979, 1989 and 1990 and won two Chicago Emmy awards.
"Jim was a respected play-by-play specialist who combined a tremendous gift for storytelling with a Hall of Fame voice," said Mo Davenport, ESPN Radio's senior vice president and general manager. "He's been a dedicated friend and a trusted teammate to so many at ESPN for two decades, and he will be greatly missed."
"Jim was an extraordinary professional," said John Martin, ESPN executive producer, radio remotes, who frequently worked on-site with Durham. "His talent for calling NBA on radio in vivid, descriptive terms was unmatched. When JD was so deservedly recognized with the Gowdy Award, he had the Hall of Fame career to go along with his long-established position as a Hall of Fame person. He was a sensational individual."
Durham is survived by his wife, Helen, their three children, Patrick, Richard and Tracy, and several grandchildren.