SI's Wolff wins top media honor from Basketball Hall of Fame

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Alexander Wolff, one of Sports Illustrated's longest-tenured and most distinguished writers, was named the recipient of the 2011 Curt Gowdy Media Award by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Thursday.

The award -- named in honor of legendary sports broadcaster and former president of the Hall of Fame board, the late Curt Gowdy -- is given to both print and electronic media members. Jim Durham, the former voice of the Dallas Mavericks and Chicago Bulls, received the award for his contributions to electronic media.

"In his decades of covering college basketball for SI, the depth and breadth of Alex Wolff's work has been inimitable," said editor of Time Inc.'s Sports Group, Terry McDonell. "He has written with a lyrical and literary grace in stories on Final Fours and NCAA tournaments, in profiles of the game's most influential figures, in investigative pieces that protected the very integrity of the game while the vision of his work pushed basketball to become truly international. There is no journalist who better embodies what Curt Gowdy meant to the game."

Wolff, who has covered professional and amateur basketball since the early 1980s, joins two other SI writers -- Curry Kirkpatrick in 2001and Jack McCallum in 2004 -- as recipients of the award.

"I grew up on Curry and he got me excited about the sport," Wolff said. "His example was, if you're covering college basketball particularly, and you're covering young people playing games, you're really missing out if you aren't covering their exuberance.

"Jack is someone who is a father figure of the family of basketball. There isn't anyone in the NBA who doesn't at least respect Jack's opinion. Lucky me, I got to follow those guys."

In addition to covering basketball, the World Cup, Olympics and World Series, Wolff has written five books, including "Raw Recruits," a New York Times bestseller that he co-authored with CBS Sports correspondent Armen Keteyian about the corruption in college basketball recruiting.

The Curt Gowdy Media Award is another jewel in Wolff's writing crown. He has also garnered the New England Basketball Hall of Fame's Frank Queen Award, two Women's Sports Foundation Journalism awards, two National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association Powerade Sports Story of the Year awards and he was inducted into the U.S. Basketball Writers Association Hall of Fame.

"I've been devoted to the game as a fan and player as a kid, and I'm able to make a living covering it," Wolff said. "If you were to tell me that as a 14- or 15-year-old kid, I wouldn't have believed you."

Wolff will receive the award during the Hall's 2011 Enshrinement ceremony on Aug. 11 in Springfield, Mass.