Saturday, June 25, 2011

Saying GoodBye to an Old Friend

Click on photo above to watch Dr. Sanjay Gupta's special report
They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.  I'm not sure I ever tried to imitate Nick Charles, but I sure as heck wanted to be just like him.  As a sports anchor.  As a man.  Nick was world class.  He was all class.  On Saturday, one of the greatest sportscaster of our generation passed away after a two-year bout with cancer.  He was taken way too soon.  Just 64-years-old. I first met Nick in 1986, when I moved from Houston to Atlanta, hired by CNN Radio as its morning sports anchor.  While I loved the job, the goal was to get to the TV-side.  To work alongside Nick Charles and Fred Hickman, the long-running anchor team of CNN Sports Tonight.  If you're a sports fan today, ESPN's SportsCenter is the be-all end-all.   But in the 80's and early 90's - it was Sports Tonight.  And a large part of that was Nick.

Nick's colleagues remember him
  Nick had one of those disarming personalities that made even strangers feel they had know him for years.  He was fun.  He was flair.  He wasn't above playing "Home Run Derby" with the guys in the office (you bet, we made the CNN Sports department a mini-baseball field and swatted home runs into the cafeteria)!  But he was also serious, one of the most gifted television writers of our time.  He was our rock.  He gave CNN Sports credibility. 

I don't recall the last time I spoke with Nick, but I do remember our last correspondence.  It was an exchange of emails a fews month back.  I knew the cancer was getting the better of him, and I tried to send works of encouragement.  What I got back was an email that was classic Nick, who's passion for boxing was on center stage one last time.  "Hey Fiscella, remember, it's a 15-round bout and I'm still standing with a few rounds to go."
Nick Charles may have run out of rounds, but little doubt he is still standing.  And standing tall.  Thanks for a 25-year friendship that I won't soon forget.

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