There’s certain phrases a Cleveland Cavaliers fan holds close to them: “Deep in the Q,” “Right down Euclid” or “The Bottom!” “A Wine and Gold Winner” was always my favorite, for obvious reasons. When Cavaliers play-by-play announcers Fred McLeod and Austin Carr called the organization’s 2016 NBA Championship, it sent chills down your spine. It was the greatest “Wine and Gold Winner” in Cavaliers history.

Unfortunately, the Cavaliers organization and the rest of the basketball world were given tragic news on Tuesday morning. McLeod passed away at the age of 67. The Cavaliers organization released an emotional announcement on NBA.com, honoring McLeod’s legacy.

“The entire Cavaliers organization mourns the loss of their great friend and teammate. Fred’s deep love for Cleveland and the Cavaliers was clearly evident in everything he did in and around the community and on-air during his more than 1,000 Cavalier game broadcasts. He was a true, heart-felt ambassador for the team, fans and entire greater Cleveland community.”

Growing up as a Cavaliers fan, it was an honor to listen to McLeod and Carr announce each game. He brought a certain passion to the game that never went unnoticed. During their formative years, both McLeod and Carr called some of Cleveland’s most iconic moments, including their first title run in 2007 and their four consecutive trips to the NBA Finals from 2015-2018, most notably the 2016 championship.

Fred’s sports legacy

Despite his incredible tenure in Cleveland, McLeod’s broadcasting legacy goes back 36 years.

“One of the most accomplished and respected announcers in the NBA, Fred recently celebrated his 36th season of broadcasting games, having also spent 22 seasons announcing Detroit Pistons games, prior to returning home to join the Cavaliers in 2006,” the Cavaliers press released mentioned.

In 1979, McLeod served as a television announcer for the Cleveland Indians. During his extensive career, McLeod spent some time with the Detroit Lions and Detroit Tigers. His diverse talents lent themselves to three major sports. These talents never went unnoticed.

McLeod was a multiple regional Emmy Award winner as part of the Fox Sports Ohio Cavs broadcast, alongside his partner Austin Carr. The beloved duo holds a special place in any fans heart, as well as the entire city of Cleveland. In addition, McLeod was the recipient of the National Academy of Arts and Sciences’ prestigious Silver Circle Award for his lifetime achievements in television broadcast.

Although McLeod’s best known for his television work, he played baseball and pitched in the NAIA College World Series for Point Park University.

The basketball world mourns Fred’s loss

McLeod’s unexpected passing touched the basketball world, especially the Cavaliers faithful. Several colleagues, players and alumni offered condolences to McLeod’s family following his passing on Monday evening. For someone who meant so much to the fan base and sports world, it’s never easy saying goodbye.

McLeod offered the Cavaliers fans inside, behind-the-scenes access on several platforms, including Cavs.com, Cavs HQ and on social media. He cared deeply about the city and organization, going above and beyond to give basketball fans the best product he could. And he always delivered.

Cavaliers all-star Kevin Love tweeted: “Shocked and saddened to hear about the loss of Fred McLeod. He was a student of the game. He loved the Cavs but even more so the fans. Fred worked his ass off for the city of Cleveland and the NBA. Praying and sending my best to his wife Beth and kids.”

Former Cavaliers legend and NBA champion LeBron James offered his condolences to the family and reminisced about the 2016 championship call both McLeod and Carr made to announce their victory over the Golden State Warriors.

Final tribute

McLeod was a pillar in the Cavaliers organization, the city of Cleveland and the sports world in general. As a lifetime Cavaliers fan, listening to McLeod and Carr announce the games brings back great memories I had with my family, some of which are no longer around.

I can’t thank McLeod enough for spending his time with all of us on game days and behind-the-scenes. He cared so much for the fans and community. Here’s to a successful 2019-2020 campaign in Fred’s honor!

Rest easy, Fred McLeod. You’ll always be with us!

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