NBC said goodbye to Bud Collins in fashionable style Sunday. A three-minute tribute that aired after the men’s final was fittingly colorful.
Collins, 78, began working for NBC as a tennis reporter and interviewer in 1972. He was informed last month that his services would no longer be needed.
With post-match interviews at Wimbledon conducted by the BBC’s Sue Barker and with NBC’s Jimmy Roberts there to do features, Collins’ role had been diminished in recent years.
So, as with all good things, Collins’ job with NBC came to an end. However, he is continuing to write for the Boston Globe, his main employer since 1963.
After Sunday’s tribute, Collins was interviewed briefly on NBC. For the occasion, he wore hard-to-describe red-orange and black pants, a red-orange and black polka-dot bow tie -- and hot pink socks. Next to him was the impeccably dressed Roberts.
Collins, after telling Roberts his run had been fun and filled with memories, said, “I want to thank all of my colleagues at NBC and all of those out there who have encouraged me over the years. I’m going to be moving on, but I’m going to try and stay near tennis.”
Asked by Roberts to name his top Wimbledon memory, Collins singled out the 1980 men’s final between Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe. McEnroe, who won a fourth-set tiebreaker, 18-16, before losing the fifth set, 8-6, had played brilliantly.
Collins recalled telling McEnroe after that match -- “Stick a feather in your cap and call it McEnroni” -- and added: “Pretty awful.”
But classic Bud Collins.