Beloved local journalist Martin “Marty Mac” McNeal truly had a place in journalism as a prolific sports writer in the NBA. His time on earth has ended, but his skills and professionalism known among his colleagues will continue.
McNeal’s bout with leukemia ended when he passed away on May 21 with his wife Beverly and his son Phillip at his bedside in Dallas, Texas. He was 64.
McNeal was the Sacramento Kings beat writer for the Sacramento Bee for 14 years, spending a total of 19 years with the newspapers from 1990 to 2009.
Kings General Manager Vlade Divac issued the following statement on the passing of Martin McNeal, the team’s beat writer for The Sacramento Bee from 1992 to 2005.
“I am deeply saddened to learn about the passing of my friend Marty Mac. I’ll never forget his incredible sense of humor and he will be forever remembered as a truly iconic figure in both the Sacramento and national media landscape. “Marty possessed a unique storytelling ability unlike any other, as he tirelessly covered our team and this franchise during countless memorable moments, including some of the best years of my career.”
Divac continued, “On behalf of the entire Kings organization, I want to express our deepest condolences to his wife Beverly, son Phillip, and the entire McNeal family as we keep them all in our hearts, thoughts and prayers during this most difficult time.”
McNeal shared his infectious sense of humor with everyone. After he left the Bee, a reporter asked him how he was able to persevere through many NBA seasons reporting and keeping a relationship with players.
“I’ve been reporting this long … I should be good at it by now,” McNeal responded.
McNeal, from New York City, graduated from the Historical Black College Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia. He spent many seasons as a beat writer for the Dallas Mavericks before arriving in Sacramento.
McNeal was an avid New York Giants fan of the NFL.
“He had a magnetic personality, fiercely loved the game and was a legendary writer that inspired and entertained readers of all ages,” Divac said. “He was also a beloved mentor and loyal friend to many, as well as a loving husband and father who will be greatly missed.”
After the news of his death, many NBA journalists took to social media to mourn the loss of their revered colleague.
Said ESPN’s Mark Jones: “Crushing to hear about the passing of NBA writer Marty McNeal. He was an All Star. Used to love reading Marty Mac’s World column in the Sac Bee. He had a unique perspective. A pioneer. This brother would light up the media room whenever he walked in with his positive vibes. RIP Marty.”
Marc J. Spears of ESPN’s The Undefeated, said: “Rest In Peace to former NBA beat writer Marty McNeal. He was a mentor, kept it 100, had great relationships with everyone from the players to the coaches to the front office and lit up a media room with his personality. You are already missed brother and thank you for being you.”