CLEVELAND — One day after the team announced the passing of Fred McLeod, the family of Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert has released a statement regarding the television play-by-play broadcaster's death:
“Fred McLeod was truly a one-of-a-kind person and friend. Words cannot express our feelings as we think about the many special memories we have of Fred and a relationship that spans four decades. We will miss him tremendously.
Fred was not only a great broadcaster and communicator that informed, explained and entertained, but he passionately embodied the Cavaliers ‘All for One. One for All.’ DNA in every aspect of his life.
He had the gift of connecting with everyone he interacted with and leaving them feeling happier, stronger, more positive, and valued. Fred has left an impactful, lasting legacy in Cleveland, Detroit and beyond.
Our family extends our deepest and warmest sympathies to Fred’s entire family, including his wonderful wife Beth, mother Marilyn, sister Lynn, and his three children, Sean, Jenna, Molly and each of their families."
While McLeod had been the television voice of the Cavs since the 2006-07 season, his relationship with Gilbert dated back to the 1980s. As a Michigan State student, Gilbert interned for McLeod when he was working as a sports broadcaster in Detroit, where he called Pistons games from 1984-2006.
"I could tell back then that this guy was too smart to be a television broadcaster," McLeod told Cavs.com of Gilbert in 2014. "You could just see he would process things so quickly. By the way, Dan says I demoted him from the Monday-through-Friday shift to a weekend shift. But I don’t remember doing that! And to this day, I still think: ‘WHY did I do something so stupid and demote him?’ (If I did.)"
Shortly after purchasing the Cavs in 2005, Gilbert hired McLeod to be the team's television voice. He was preparing to enter his 14th consecutive season in that role at the time of his passing.