George Michael made SportsCenterby Javier Morales on Dec. 24, 2009, under Sports
RELATED LINK (TOUCHING QUOTES FROM REDSKINS COACH JIM ZORN):
When my brother Andy texted me earlier today to notify me that George Michael passed away, I immediately thought of the longtime sports television broadcaster who impacted my journalistic career as much as anyone. Others would have thought of the 1980′s pop singer. Not me.
I know this has absolutely nothing to do with Arizona basketball and its recruiting efforts, but I could not pass on the opportunity to mention how much of an impact Michael made on my life as a journalist. I am sure he has touched countless others with the way he ran his “Sports Machine” show.
Michael died at age 70 — on Christmas Eve of all times — because of chronic lymphocytic leukemia. The news turned a joyous day into one of sorrow that I felt for his wife and his family. I know all about what it feels like to lose a loved one at this time of year. My nephew and Godson Ian Michael Beal, died on Dec. 19, 2003, while trying to rebuild a cabin after the fire that swept through Mount Lemmon.
I lived near Washington, D.C., for four years between 1979 and 1983, and religiously watched Michael’s highlight show, “The Sports Machine”, on WRC, the NBC affiliate in D.C. The show later became nationally syndicated and aired Sunday nights, including the Tucson market.
I went from disliking the Redskins before I moved out there — couldn’t stand the single-bar face mask Billy Kilmer and Sonny Jorgenson used — to becoming a diehard fan mostly because of Michael’s entertaining shows.
He made it hard to not like the Redskins with his interviews and highlights. His show the “Redskins Report” became must-see television for me. His style was straightforward — he had that very loud voice — but he also knew how to deliver the question and get the best quotes. ESPN modeled SportsCenter after the way Michael delivered his highlights.
Miller exhibited his class to the very end of his career in 2007. He left his sports anchor job with WRC, and “The Sports Machine” went off the air after NBC Universal, in a cost-cutting move, reduced the size of his staff, firing many of his longtime colleagues.
“NBC made me an extremely, extremely beyond-my-wildest dreams offer to stay and sign a new deal,” he was quoted as saying at the time by the New York Times. He added that if anybody was going to be laid off, “I have to take the first bullet.”
Michael was a true one of a kind. He will be missed.