NEW YORK -- The local fans already have welcomed back Marv Albert. Now he'll see if the reception is any different around the country.
Albert is returning to national prominence, agreeing Monday to a multiyear contract with Turner Sports to broadcast NBA games and other sports.
Albert, fired by NBC in 1997 after pleading guilty to biting a woman during a sexual encounter in a Virginia hotel room, is scheduled to make his debut on TNT's broadcast of the Los Angeles Lakers game at Phoenix on April 2.
He has fulfilled the terms of his probation, and his record has been cleared.
"Everyone has been so favorable in New York at the games and walking on the street," Albert said at a news conference in Madison Square Garden. "I just hope it continues and people continue to react that way, but it's out of my control."
Albert worked his first NBA game in nearly 20 months on Feb. 8, when he called the Knicks home opener on radio for the Madison Square Garden Network. Fans lined up for autographs and voiced their support for Albert's return.
"In the darkest hours, I had no idea what would unfold in my life," Albert said. "But I had to get past that. A year ago I was just wondering if I'd get back, but I think everything has turned out well in the long run when you look at my life."
He will work six regular-season games this season for Atlanta-based Turner with analyst Reggie Theus, then will be placed in the regular announcing rotation during the postseason.
Albert may be paired with different partners during the postseason.
"The hiring is a step in the right direction for Marv to make a strong comeback," said Turner analyst and former NBA coach Hubie Brown. "It also adds another quality announcer to our stable of people. The way people should look at it is that Turner is giving him a chance."
Beginning next season, Albert will become a fulltime member of the Turner on-air staff, announcing a full slate of about 25 regular-season games.
"We feel that Marv is one of the top play-by-play announcers in the business," Turner Sports executive producer Mike Pearl said. "The concerns we had were that he was taking care of himself on a personal note. We have the confidence in our decision."
Most of Albert's games on Turner this season will come on Friday nights on TNT in order to accommodate his obligations with Madison Square Garden, which will continue.
"I'm so happy with this situation," Albert said. "I don't know what's in store down the road. I'm just so thrilled to be doing NBA on national basis."
Albert returned to New York's MSG in September as a weeknight anchor its wrap-up show, "SportsDesk." Besides NBA games, he also may work boxing for Turner along with the 2001 Goodwill Games and possibly the pro football league Turner and NBC are planning to launch.
Albert's last national telecast was the NBA Finals in 1997 with NBC, where he worked for 20 years. Later that year, after the trial, he was fired by NBC and resigned from the MSG Network.
"It will be great to see Marv return to television and work in the sport he loves," NBC spokesman Ed Markey said. "We're happy to have him back as part of the NBA family."
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