Chuck Swirsky tells his story – and many more – in his book “Always a Pleasure”
As an NBA play-by-play announcer, Chuck Swirsky doesn’t have time to share much about himself with his listeners.
“The 24-second shot clock dictates where you are,” he said.
So after keeping a diary for more than four decades, the Bulls’ radio voice on The Score is releasing a book, “Always a Pleasure,” which is available for pre-order and will be released on Wednesday.
Swirsky, 68, had turned down several opportunities to write a book over the past few years, but decided the time was right. He is starting his 25e year as an NBA broadcaster and 15e with the bulls. Swirsky has no plans to retire, but he accepted an offer from publisher Eckhartz Press and wrote a 200-page memoir.
“I wanted a foundation for people to understand a little bit about my background, how I grew up and the importance of sports in my life,” Swirsky said. “It opened the door for people to realize how valuable sport is for someone placed in a difficult personal environment.”
Swirsky’s father died when Swirsky was in sixth grade. He was a decorated American naval officer who enjoyed working on cars and projects around the house, but he didn’t enjoy sports the way his son did.
“The reason I mentioned that in the book, there’s a lot of kids who maybe have a disconnect with a parent,” Swirsky said, “and even though my connection was really strong because I know that my dad loved me unconditionally, like my mom does, I don’t think he ever understood why I loved sports so much.
“He really struggled when he wanted me to hang out with him while he tinkered with a car or when he gave me an Erector set for the holidays. It really shaped me and allowed me to meet my own children where they are in their lives instead of trying to mold them into what I want them to be.
After his father’s death, Swirsky immersed himself in sports, which led to an illustrious career in broadcasting. He arrived in Chicago in 1979 on the WCFL, hosting the city’s first nighttime sports talk show. His profile grew when he called men’s basketball DePaul and indoor and outdoor soccer Sting. It might not sound impressive to those who weren’t there, but in the early 1980s they were the best teams in town.
“Before Michael Jordan came along, it was DePaul and the Sting,” Swirsky said. “The Stings were selling outdoor play at Wrigley Field and Comiskey Park. They beat the Cosmos for the title in 1981. DePaul had done it. The Horizon was sold out every game.
Swirsky moved from WCFL to WLUP, where he worked mornings and afternoons. He then got a call from Bulls public relations manager Brian McIntyre, who asked if Swirsky would audition to be the team’s public announcer after Tommy Edwards left for another job (he would return shortly after). ). Swirsky, McIntyre and general manager Rod Thorn met one afternoon at the stadium in Chicago.
“They had me read some one-liners and they had me do a public speech for the starting lineup, and they said, it’s up to you,” Swirsky said.
Swirsky had the gig for only a few years because WGN general manager Dan Fabian didn’t want him to miss DePaul’s games. He urged Swirsky to choose the bulls or the demons.
“It was the year before Jordan came along,” Swirsky said. “Ultimately, I made the right decision because without DePaul’s work, I don’t get the University of Michigan. [basketball broadcasting job], and without the University of Michigan, I don’t get the Raptors job, and without the Raptors job, I don’t get the Bulls. But there were times when I saw what Jordan was doing and I was like, Hmm, I wonder if I made the right decision.
Indeed, he did. Unless unforeseen, Swirsky will call his 2,000e NBA game on January 13, when the Bulls host the Thunder. Ironically, Swirsky rooted for the Thunder’s predecessor, the Seattle SuperSonics, while growing up in Bellevue, Washington.
In the meantime, Swirsky will bring his perpetual positivity and energy to the Bulls broadcasts, where his calls are descriptive and his information is thorough. His voice is unmistakable and synonymous with basketball. But Swirsky also wants to make an impact away from the microphone.
“I always say there are four Ps that have really wrapped up my life, and that’s positivity, passion, purpose, and perseverance,” Swirsky said. “My book is a combination of all four because life is not a straight line. I wanted people to know, this is who I am, this is my thought process, and this is how my world has evolved.
- Michael Monaco will call the Bulls’ home opener on Saturday for NBC Sports Chicago alongside Stacey King. Adam Amine (NFL) and Jason Benetti (college football) will be on assignment for Fox. Monaco, which has ably filled the Blackhawks, Bulls and White Sox shows, also has the Bulls game on Oct. 29, when the same clashes occur.
- NFL Games airing Sunday in the Chicago Market: Lions at Cowboys, Noon, Ch. 2 (jim nantz, Tony Romo); Packers at Commanders, noon, Fox-32 (Adam Amine, Daryl Johnston); Chiefs at 49ers, 3:25 p.m., Fox-32 (Kevin Burkhardt, Greg Olson).
- IHSA Football Playoff pairings will be revealed at 8 p.m. Saturday on The U, WCIU-Ch. 26.2. Hosts Matt Rodewald and David Bernhardwill announce the field’s first-round matches of 256 teams across eight classes.