Veteran sports reporter Fred Hickman has died at the age of 66. He spent more than four decades on the air. Hickman was known for his days as Sports Anchor at CNN, Yankee Entertainment and Sports Network (YES), and ESPN.
He died on Nov. 9. in a hospital in Kissimmee, Florida, his wife, Sheila, told The Hollywood Reporter. He has been battling cancer since February. According to his wife, the retired Hickman had been working on a book and was starting a podcast.
In the 1980s, he and the late Nick Charles co-hosted one of the most popular highlights shows, “Sports Tonight.” Hickman was among the first hosts of “Inside the NBA.”
Hickman, who was born in Springfield, Illinois, was the first person to appear on the YES Network when it launched on March 19, 2002, and he served as its lead anchor for three years.
Hickman had a long history in sports journalism. After high school he worked on radio stations in Iowa and Illinois before moving to television to begin a three-year stint at Springfield’s WICS in 1978, The Hollywood Reporter reported.
He went on CNN where he stayed for four years, leaving in 1984 for a job covering the Detroit Tigers at NBC Detroit affiliate WDIV. Hickman returned to CNN to reunite with Charles in 1986 as co-anchors of a CNN/Sports Illustrated show.
After YES, he moved to ESPN and hosted “SportsCenter” and other sports shows through 2008. He also worked for Fox Sports South; stations in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Hagerstown, Maryland; and the Black News Channel. He also formed Fred Hickman Communications, Inc. to offer broadcasting training for retired athletes and media training for athletes, coaches and front office personnel, The New York Post reported.
Hickman made news in 2000 when he was the only NBA media member not to cast an MVP vote for Los Angeles Lakers center Shaquille O’Neal. Hickman selected Allen Iverson of the Philadelphia 76ers instead.
Photo: Fred Hickman, Facebook