There are some sports comebacks that fans will never forget. Michael Jordan’s return from retirement in 1995, Muhammad Ali’s first fight after four years in jail, and now Bob Rathbun’s return to the broadcast booth.
Shortly after the Atlanta Hawks defeated the Charlotte Hornets on Friday night, the legendary television announcer tweeted the news every Hawks fan wanted to hear.
Rathbun graciously thanked Mike Conti and Mike Morgan for filling in for him and announced his return to television on Monday, December 19. Atlanta hosts the Orlando Magic, and it is safe to expect a steady stream of fans and well-wishers welcoming Rathbun back.
On December 5, Rathbun suffered a frightening on-air medical emergency during the pregame show before the Hawks played the Oklahoma City Thunder. The 68-year-old was rushed to Emory Hospital, where he spent five nights undergoing various tests.
In an interview with The Athletic, Rathbun described his time in the hospital and explained that all of the medical examinations came back favorable. Essentially, Rathbun had been ill (vomiting and dehydration), coupled with a drop in his magnesium levels and blood pressure, which contributed to his on-air collapse.
“Retire? Why? I’m OK!” he said. “Heavens no. I cannot wait to get back. This ain’t work. This is the NBA. This is so much fun. Charter aircraft. I get off the charter and walk 20 steps to get on a bus. It takes me right to the hotel, and then a nice bellman brings my bags to me. Hell, this ain’t (tough) travel. You stay at five-star hotels. All I have to do is figure out who are the 10 guys on the court. I ain’t giving this up.” – Bob Rathbun in an interview with The Athletic.
Saying basketball fans everywhere are elated about Rathbun’s recovery and return is an understatement. Not only is Rathbun a tremendously talented announcer, but he is an even better person.
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