Goodbye, Dr. Basketball

drb2

Visitation for Gary Haskew (Dr Basketball) will be 6-9pm, Thursday, July 7th at Stuart Heights Baptist Church, Hixson Pike at Cloverdale. Celebration of Life: Friday, July 8th, 7:30pm at the Church.

 

It is with deep regret and the heaviest of hearts that we confirm the passing of Gary Haskew AKA Doctor Basketball. Gary passed away this afternoon after suffering a massive heart attack.
“Gary was an incredible talent, an excellent storyteller, a true original, and the largest of larger than life characters, said WGOW Interim Program Director Bill Lockhart. “In a world of wanna-bes, posers, and imitators, Gary was the genuine article; a man’s man, an entertainer extrao…rdinaire, with a love for people. We are all lucky to have had Gary in our lives.”

 

THE MOUTH THAT ROARED – THE LEGEND OF GARY HASKEW, AKA, DR. BASKETBALL

J David Miller
Cathedral City, CA ·

The decision to put Gary Haskew on the radio on Sport Talk truly originated with his brother Jerre – a trusted confidant and dynamite showman. Jerre, who has held more than one audience captive himself, knew a great act when he saw it, and he’d grown up with this one. Jerre predicted correctly in 1989 that if we ever had the nerve to hand his brother the SportTalk microphone, be prepared to be totally upstaged.

It was prophecy – Gary was an overnight legend, instant magic, a celebrated sandblaster of the spoken word from his very first night – and no way was this genie ever going back in the bottle. Fast forward three decades.
Jerre and Gary Haskew took a one-night stand and turned Sport Talk into a Chattanooga institution. Gary Haskew, hands down, is the most outrageous broadcast figure in Chattanooga sports history. His fearless reporting – dare we call it that? – arrogant bombast and unforgettable voice – like a pealing, staccato diesel engine – became the soundtrack for generations of Chattanooga sports listeners.

Has any other Chattanooga sports announcer ever entered a packed live broadcast with bodyguards? Wearing a ski mask? Blasting the Bear? With characters and side-kicks named ‘Bad Bob’ and the ‘Black Scorpion’ and a producer named ‘Quake,’ no less. He was neither a former pretty-boy athlete-turned-radio jock or institutionally raised, city-slick broadcaster. Gary was spastic public theater, a hilarious threat to every sports icon or sacred cow, a radio outlaw who somehow stayed one, a genuine oasis in a sea of ever homogenizing media-ocrity.

We mourn the sudden loss of our heroes, and it stays with you longer when you love them, and they are actually your friends. But how can you not smile big for posterity when you realize that Gary Haskew – curses, Dr. Basketball!! – dropped the mic and walked off the big stage the same way he came smashing in – on his own shocking terms, with maddening bombast, all of us confounded and bewildered and talking about – him.

Dr. B left us shaking our collective fists at the heavens – wishing we could give him a piece of our mind, just one more time. Be honest – Gary owned us to the very end. Legends don’t leave the way we want them to. They simply leave.

And Dr. B, true to form, had the last word.

 

 

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