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Jim Durham’s passing draws emotional reaction from Chicago Bulls

Jim Durham was the voice of the Chicago Bulls for 15 seasons.

Dennis Wierzbicki-US PRESSWIRE

Former Bulls commentator Jim Durham died over the weekend at his home in Tomball, Texas, at 65. No cause of death was announced.

Durham called games for the Chicago Bulls from 1976 until 1991, including the team's first NBA Championship. Since 1996, he had been announcing for ESPN Radio. In 2011, Durham received the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame's Curt Gowdy Media Award.

Durham's final game was last Tuesday night. He and partner Jack Ramsay called the season opener between the Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat.

Bulls fans, players, coaches, and executives have spoken out in memory of Durham.

Michael Jordan told ESPNChicago.com that Durham had "the voice of champions. I will miss him."

Steve Schanwald, executive vice president of business operations for the Bulls, told the media:

"I loved that man, we all did here, and of course Jim was the best in the business at his craft. No one brought the game more to life, brought more energy and humor to the broadcasts or painted a more vivid picture of what was happening on the floor than Jim did. I will miss his company and our conversations a lot. But I will always be grateful for our friendship and the times we shared together. Heartfelt condolences to (wife) Helen and his family."

Bull Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf released this statement:

"Jim was the voice of the Bulls for 18 years and he was the best at calling a basketball game I ever heard. I loved the energy he brought to our broadcasts, the way he painted a word picture of what was happening on the court which made you feel like you were there, and his sense of humor. Most importantly, Jim was my friend and I will miss the conversations we had about the NBA, life in general, and his favorite baseball team... the Chicago White Sox."

Former Bulls center Artis Gilmore shared many flights and bus trips with Durham. Gilmore remembers,

"He was always cordial to me, and he certainly had a terrific voice. He understood the game of basketball and he made an incredible contribution to the sport. He was probably in the business close to 40 years. He surely will be missed."