Six-time National Sportscaster of the Year Chris Berman of ESPN, will be honored Monday, May 24, with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame as a tribute for his more than 30 years of contribution to the sports television industry. Over the past three decades, Berman has become one of the preeminent sports commentators of his generation. He has been with ESPN since October 1979 — less than a month after the network launched. ESPN announced last month that Berman had signed a contract extension that will keep him at the network.
This year, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce selected just 28 names from more than 200 nominations. Other honorees set to cement a place in Hollywood history in 2010 are director James Cameron, actors Russell Crowe, John Cusack, Colin Firth, Adam Sandler, Emma Thompson and Mark Wahlberg, and musicians Bryan Adams, Van Morrison, Ringo Starr, the band ZZ Top and Roy Orbison (posthumously).
“A star on Hollywood Boulevard is an iconic honor that has literally blown me away,” said Berman. “It speaks to 30 years of hard work for thousands of ESPN employees, and I am proud to represent each and every one of them. I can assure you that this will be the only time that my name will be in a sentence with the likes of Clark Gable and John Wayne.”
Berman is the leading voice and face of ESPN’s National Football League studio coverage as host of Sunday NFL Countdown, Monday Night Countdown and halftime of Monday Night Football, the most-watched series on cable. He has also anchored ESPN’s annual NFL Draft telecast since 1987. His prognosticating alter-ego – the “Swami” – has provided weekly NFL predictions and observations on SportsCenter since 1979. He also does Major League Baseball play-by-play, hosts the Major League Baseball Home Run Derby and hosts ESPN’s U.S. Open golf coverage. A regular on SportsCenter for its first 11 years, he continues to anchor the show a handful of times a year.
Berman and his programs have won 10 Emmy Awards and 12 CableACE Awards. In January 2009, he was honored with The Pat Summerall Award at the annual Legends for Charity dinner in recognition of his longtime excellence in football broadcasting. He was named in 2008 to the CableFAX Hall of Fame as a member of the inaugural class of inductees. Berman was named the 2001 winner of the prestigious Reds Bagnell Award from the Maxwell Football Club of Philadelphia for “contributions to the game of football.” Previous recipients include Pete Rozelle, Don Shula, Joe Paterno, and Eddie Robinson, among others.
Berman is famous for his use of nicknames while voicing over Major League Baseball highlights. His personal favorites from the more than 1000 monikers he has coined include Roberto “Remember the” Alomar, Bert “Be Home” Blyleven, Jim “Two Silhouettes On” Deshaies, and Fred “Crime Dog” McGriff, just a sampling of names that often reflect his interest in history and music.
A long-time aficionado of rock and roll, Berman has appeared on stage singing with Huey Lewis and the News more than a dozen times. In addition, he sang twice with Eddie Money, appeared in a video with Hootie and the Blowfish, and was joined by Glenn Frey of the Eagles for a special “Hotel California” Super Bowl edition of “The Swami.”
In addition, Berman has played himself in 11 motion pictures – The Longest Yard, Little Big League, Necessary Roughness, Eddie, The Garbage Picking Field Goal Kicking Philadelphia Phenomenon, Big Daddy, Second String, Even Steven, Kingpin, The Program, Celtic Pride – and on several television shows including Sesame Street, Spin City, The Jersey and Arli$$. He has also appeared on Late Night with David Letterman, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Jimmy Kimmel Live.
A native of Connecticut, Berman is a graduate of Brown University. In November 1991, he was inducted into the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame, and in May 2007 he received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from his alma mater.