Legendary Broadcaster Joe Tait Dies At Age 83

Austin Carr may be Mr. Cavalier and LeBron James may be the greatest Cavalier, but to many fans, through the good times and a lot of bad times, Joe Tait was the Cavaliers.

The legendary radio voice of the Cavs for almost four decades passed away today at the age of 83 after a long battle with kidney disease and liver cancer.

His catch phrases of “Wham with the right hand, “Three ball in the air….got it” and his signature sign off, “Have a good night everybody” were imitated by fans and media members alike. But Joe’s unique voice and ability to make you think you were actually watching the game was never duplicated.

When the Cavaliers were having a bad year, and early on there were many, Joe Tait was the reason fans still tuned into the games. He was the Picasso of NBA radio broadcasters, painting a masterpiece every night regardless of how good or bad the Cavaliers were.

Tait who called games for the Cavs from 1970 until he retired in 2011 (except for 1981-82 when he worked for the Nets) also broadcasted games on radio or tv for the Indians, Cleveland Rockers of the WNBA, Cleveland Barons and the Mount Union Purple Raiders football team to name a few.

Former Cavaliers guard Craig Ehlo remembered one of Joe’s legendary calls on his game winning shot and sent this tweet out on the passing of Joe:

Born in Evanston, Illinois, and a graduate of Monmouth College in Illinois, Tait, through the city of Cleveland, Ohio ended up being inducted to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts in 2010.

Tait is the only non Cavaliers player to have a banner hanging from the rafters at now Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

Here is the Cavaliers official release:


Cavaliers Statement on the Passing of Joe Tait:

“The Cleveland Cavaliers mourn the passing of one of our beloved founding fathers and the original, long-time voice of the franchise – Joe Tait.

 From the team’s inception in 1970 through the next four decades, the Basketball Hall of Famer informed, entertained and inspired generations of Cavs fans – painting a picture of the game with an unmatched mix of passion, precision and humor.

 A dedicated husband and father – generous with his talent and spirit – Joe received every major sports broadcasting award there is over the course of his career in Northeast Ohio. And like some of the most legendary Cavaliers he chronicled, Joe joined them with his own banner hanging in the rafters of Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.


A friend and mentor to many over the years, Joe Tait wasn’t just a member of the Cavaliers family; he was a part of the Cavs story like no one else and his voice and unique, candid perspective reverberates throughout the team’s history. He will be dearly missed.

 Joe was also famous for his dry wit and his pragmatic view of life and probably wouldn’t have wanted a big, sentimental sendoff. So, to paraphrase the legend, himself – Let’s not say: ‘goodbye.’ Let’s just say: “Have a GOOD night, everybody!’”

No information has been released yet on funeral arrangements or services.

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