Bryant Gumbel: Still Cool Under Pressure

Posted: 9th December 2009 by DavidBurnett in Media
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Bryant Gumbel can really rub you the wrong way. There is something not quite right about him at times. Maybe its the arrogance he sometimes exudes. Despite that, he is also celebrated as one of the most well-prepared and brilliant interviewers of our time.

On Regis and Kelly the other day, Gumbel, the erudite TV pro, showed another side of himself – humility and vulnerability. He announced on-air that he is fighting lung cancer. But surprisingly he looked at peace.

Gumbel sometimes comes across as smug and self-important. He really angered me a couple of years ago, because of a commentary on his HBO show, in which he cruelly belittled and mocked the late Gene Upshaw. A Hall of Fame player with the Raiders, Upshaw gained even greater fame as the longtime executive director of the National Football League Players Association. I thought Gumbel was way out of line.

On the other hand it’s just as important to recognize that Bryant Gumbel is a valuable trailblazer. Gumbel was a role model for me and millions of others. I always admired his preparation as well as his command and elegance.

Ironically, Gumbel shared his battle with cancer as Tiger Woods continues to dominate the headlines. If anyone can understand what Tiger might be going through it is Gumbel. Gumbel also had to deal with tabloid allegations of infidelity and a humiliated wife. Tiger should call him up. Tiger might hear what we witnessed as Gumbel revealed his cancer fight. An older, wiser more humble man, who might be able to help him.

Life hands out lots of lessons. And Gumbel who always seems cool under pressure, appears to have learned his.

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