The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski had pro basketball legend Rod Thorn on his podcast this week. It’s an illuminating, entertaining journey from playing in Jerry West’s shadow to coaching Dr. J to losing the rights to Magic Johnson on a coin flip. But perhaps the best story Thorn tells concerns one Bob Costas.
Costas, currently anchoring NBC’s Olympics coverage in Rio, was the radio announcer for the ABA’s Spirits of St. Louis when Thorn coached them in 1975-76. Thorn discusses Costas’ sartorial swag in pick-up games.
Thorn: He saw himself as a player. And he used to play, like after practice, before practice. He and the trainer and Gregg Polinsky, myself, we’d play. And Bob never passed. Ever. And he had on, you know like, wristbands up to his ... [laughing] you know, the way guys wear them today. He had that back in those days. Headband. Oh, and long pants. He thought he was a tremendous player.
Even better is what Costas would do during those pick-up games.
Woj: But also he would do play-by-play. He would announce ...
Thorn: Oh yeah. He’d take a shot, [hilarious Costas voice] “And 20-footer by Costas ... good!” Shut up, you’re losing every game. [laughing] Shut up. Yeah, he would do that.
Bob Costas: you will never go out of style.