On Sunday, the NBA All-Star Game will return to Madison Square Garden for the first time since 1998. It will be the second All-Star Game at the Garden's current location on 33rd Street. The previous version of the Garden on 49th Street was the host in 1954, 1955 and 1968.

Just a few weeks after the 1968 All-Star Game, the Knicks moved to the new Garden. Within months, the old Garden was demolished.


Although the building's walls were set to crumble, a young broadcaster from Brooklyn saw his career taking a big step forward at the 1968 game. Marv Albert started broadcasting the Knicks in 1967 and at age 26, he called his first All-Star Game on radio for the American Forces Network.

"It should be pointed out I was 12 years old at the time," Albert, now 73, says. "I did it on radio and this was early in my career. It was such a thrill for me. It was one of those crazy scores. The East won 144-124. When you saw that score, you probably saw that was a lot of talking for radio."

John Havlicek of the Celtics was the leading scorer with 26 points. Hal Greer of the 76ers was the game's MVP with 21 points on 8-of-8 shooting.

"What I remember about Hal Greer is he would take jump shots from the foul line," Albert says. "I tried it out myself in the schoolyard and it did not work out the same way as it did for Hal. I do remember. That stuck out for me because he had a huge game and stole the show."

As for the hometown Knicks, Willis Reed was one of the East starters and 16 points. Guard Dick Barnett scored 15 points off the bench.

"I believe what was of note in that game was Dick Barnett, who did not make many All-Star Games, was in that game, which was a big deal for New York fans and Barnett," Albert says. "With the Knicks during that time, with the trade of Dave DeBusschere being very successful, it was very hard for a Knick to make the All-Star team when you had people like Willis Reed and Walt Frazier and DeBusschere. You had a lot of competition at the time. [Bill] Bradley, was not at that level at that time. The biggest cheers were for Barnett."

DeBusschere was still with Detroit at the time but came the Knicks in a trade the next season. Barnett never made another All-Star team, but he did win two titles in New York.

Albert was previously a ball boy for the visiting team at Madison Square Garden before being the Knicks' ball boy for a year. It was a fellow Syracuse grad who provided Albert with an early taste of the All-Star Game at Madison Square Garden.

"I think back to the old Garden, where they did have All-Star Games, and my first memory of an All-Star Game was listening to Marty Glickman do it on the radio," he says.

Glickman, who helped Albert get his start with the Knicks, was the radio broadcaster for the first four All-Star Games from 1951-1954. Glickman also called the 1964 game at the Boston Garden on television.

Albert is covering his 20th All-Star Game this weekend, although he cracked that it may be one of the most difficult.

"I have one major concern about this year's All-Star game," he says. "We always get terrific cooperation from the coaches, but Steve Kerr is so difficult to deal with."

Of course, Albert worked alongside Kerr on TNT for the past few seasons before Kerr took over as head coach of the Golden State Warriors. Kerr will coach the Western Conference on Sunday night.

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-- Follow Jeffrey Eisenband on Twitter @JeffEisenband.