Albert Saves Those ‘Yes!’ Calls for Shots That Really Count


When Marv Albert played basketball as a kid on the playgrounds in Brooklyn, one of the regulars, after a particularly impressive basket, used to yell out, “Yes!”

If a player was fouled in the act of shooting and made the basket, the call was, “Yes, and it counts!”

“The kid’s name was Donald,” Albert recalled on the phone from Chicago. “I don’t remember his last name.


“He got it from Sid Borgia, who was an NBA official in the ‘50s and ‘60s. His son Joel is currently an NBA official.”

Those calls-- Yes! and Yes, and it counts! --stuck with Albert, who became an announcer for the New York Knicks in 1967. During the 1968 playoffs, when the Knicks’ Dick Barnett hit a big shot against Philadelphia, Albert, for the first time, blurted out, “Yes, and it counts!”

Albert has been a yes man ever since. It has become his trademark.

During Game 1 of the NBA finals, the first basket was by Portland’s Kevin Duckworth. It was a short one-handed jump shot.

Albert, calling the game for NBC, gave it a “Yes!”

The next basket, a layup by Portland’s Clyde Drexler, got a “Yes, and it counts!” because Scotty Pippen fouled Drexler as he drove in for a layup.

Portland’s third basket, a routine jump shot by Cliff Robinson, also got a “Yes!” And another routine jumper by Robinson later in the first half got the same. But that was the extent of the Trail Blazers’ “Yes!” shots. They had none in the second half.


Chicago finished with 11, eight in the first half. Michael Jordan had only five “Yes!” shots, and only three of those were three-pointers. His first three-pointer got a “Yes!” as did Nos. 5 and 6 of the first half.

A short, wide-open jump shot by Bobby Hansen got a “Yes!” It was Hansen’s only basket of the game.

So, what determines a “Yes!” shot?

“There’s nothing scientific about it,” Albert said. “It’s just a feeling. A line drive is a ‘Yes!’ shot. John Paxson shoots a typical ‘Yes!’ shot.”

Jordan, with his 35 points in the first half, broke Elgin Baylor’s record of 33 in a half, set against the Boston Celtics in 1962.

Chick Hearn said, “What I remember about that game is that the fans at Boston Garden gave Elgin a standing ovation when he came out of the game.”

Hearn said he would have put Wednesday night’s game in the refrigerator at the end of the first half.

The Clippers’ Ralph Lawler has a trademark call. He says “Bingo!” after every three-pointer. Wonder what Lawler’s decibel level would have reached after Jordan’s sixth first-half three-pointer?

Not all went well for Jordan Wednesday night. His father, James, managed to embarrass him during a sideline interview with Ahmad Rashad early in the second half.

Said James Jordan: “This kid has showed he’s ate his Wheaties, drank his Gatorade and he’s wearing his Hanes underwear.”

What was the senior Jordan bucking for, residuals? Maybe he should ask his son for a loan.

A better sideline interview was the one with George Kochler, Jordan’s personal assistant.

Kochler, explaining how he got to know Jordan, told Rashad that when Jordan came to Chicago as a rookie, the Bulls didn’t send anyone to the airport to pick him up. Kochler, a chauffeur, was there at the right time and asked Jordan if he needed a ride.

One question going into Game 2 tonight is, will viewers by able to see the opening tip? NBC used that worthless overhead shot for the tip in Game 1, and you couldn’t see a thing.

NBC should never use the overhead shot during live action. They don’t put seats in the rafters, do they?

Having Magic Johnson at courtside caused a memorable reaction from Jordan after his sixth three-pointer. He turned to Johnson and just shrugged his shoulders, as if to say, “I can’t believe it, either.”

Of Jordan, Johnson said: “He is No. 1 in the world, and everyone else is a distant second.”

Earlier, Johnson pointed out that Jordan was out to show everyone he could shot three-pointers if he chose to shoot them, and later Johnson was right on when he said Jordan should have sat down for the rest of the night when the Bulls were up by 36 points.

NBC had a good “hindsight 20/20” piece at the end of the first quarter in which it showed the Trail Blazers choosing Sam Bowie second, one spot ahead of Jordan in the 1984 draft, a year after the Bulls, picking 13th, selected Ennis Whatley, currently a Portland sub, one spot ahead of Drexler.

Ratings: Game 1 got a national Nielsen rating of 13.5 and an audience share of 25%. Last season, Game 1 of the finals between the Lakers and Bulls was played on a Sunday afternoon, and it got a 12.6 rating but a 35% share.

Wednesday night, the rating peaked at 14.7 early in the second half and was down to 12.3 by the end of the game.

TV-Radio Notes

Todd Christensen and Joe McDonnell are back together on the mid-day show on KMPC, but how long will it last? On their second day together again, they were talking about the man who hounded figure skating’s Katarina Witt, a serious topic, when Christensen said to McDonnell: “I heard you sent nude pictures of yourself to her as well.” Said McDonnell: “Yes. In fact, we’re going to be married.” Said Christensen: “I didn’t know Katarina was into saving the whales,” a reference to McDonnell’s size. It was all pretty bad.

XTRA’s Jim Rome will have Ted Williams on his show tonight after the NBA broadcast. Williams, who lives in Florida, is a graduate of San Diego’s Hoover High. . . . Rome’s aggressive producer, Joe Tutino, called Pete Sampras in Paris at 10:30 Paris time the other night to try to arrange an interview. Sampras hung up on him. “Something bad happens whenever someone hangs up on us,” Rome said later on the air. The next day, Sampras lost to Andre Agassi.

KABC radio’s Steve Edwards has a pleasing personality, and his sports knowledge is surprisingly well-rounded. But for some reason, he’s having trouble attracting male listeners. In the last Arbitron rating book, Edwards, who has a general talk show from 3 to 5 p.m. and sports talk from 5 to 7, trailed both XTRA and KMPC in the males 25-54 demographic category during the 3-7 time block. Edwards had an average of 9,200 listeners during each quarter-hour increment, while XTRA had 12,900 and KMPC 9,500. Add women, and Edwards’ audience size in the 25-54 age bracket grows to 18,500, topping KMPC’s 16,400 and XTRA’s 12,900. Yes, according to the ratings, XTRA’s Lee Hamilton, who is on from 3 to 7, attracts zero women in that age bracket.

For many, the image of John McEnroe is one of an ill-tempered, spoiled brat. As a television commentator for NBC at the French Open, he comes across as more human. During a conference call with reporters on Thursday, McEnroe was asked if he thinks television work with NBC helped improve his image. “I suppose,” he said. “But I think losing matches, getting married and having kids (he and wife Tatum O’Neal have three) all helped improve my image. If the television work helps, too, then that’s good. But I think people who watch NBC sports know me pretty well, anyway.”

Long before ABC and ESPN made the deal to televise the 1994 World Cup, organizers reached an $11-million agreement with NBC and SportsChannel America. But FIFA, soccer’s international governing body, killed that deal after Turner Broadcasting protested that there had been no open bidding. As things turned out, the ABC-ESPN deal is better for viewers because of SportsChannel’s unavailability, particularly in Los Angeles. . . . Tonight’s Dodger-Cincinnati game on SportsChannel, besides being available to regular subscribers, is also available on pay-per-view for $6.95 on participating cable systems. . . . On June 13, the Dodgers and Reds will be on CBS from Cincinnati.

Among the winners of local Emmy Awards last weekend, besides Vin Scully, were Channel 4’s Fred Roggin and producers Mike Cunningham and Jeff Hoffman for “Sportsbowl ‘91” (sports special) and Channel 9 reporter-producer Tom Murray for a feature on handicapped children playing baseball (sports reporting). Channel 9 had three of the five nominations in that category. Channel 9 producers Tom Mouzis, Ron Jacobs and Susan Stratton won for best feature, “The Magic Touch.” But, can you believe this? Todd Donoho’s “Monday Night Live” on Channel 7 was named the best sports series. Must have been a weak category.