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Courtesy: Dick Nourse, KSL TV
Longtime KSL sports personality Paul James, right, with his friends and colleague Dick Nourse, center, during the duo's 24-year run on television.

For people of a certain age, the voice of Paul James forever will be associated with some of the most memorable moments in BYU sports history.

Whether it was Danny Ainge driving the length of the court to score the game-winning layup over Notre Dame in the NCAA Tournament or Jim McMahon hooking up with Clay Brown for a touchdown pass that completed a legendary comeback in the Holiday Bowl against Southern Methodist, it was James’ voice that carried the excitement into living rooms and automobiles over KSL Radio.

James, who died Saturday at the age of 87, had a devotion to his craft that ought to serve as a template for any working American. His listeners came first, and sometimes they came first over his health. He called an entire BYU-Utah football game in 1996 despite suffering heart problems before kickoff, then drove himself to the hospital where he eventually underwent bypass surgery.

The secret to his success was thorough pregame preparation, which he used to convey information to listeners in ways that were unique and insightful.

Together with anchorman Dick Nourse and weatherman Bob Welti, James was part of a KSL-TV team Utahns came to count on nearly every night for 24 years.

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James was, of course, so much more than a sportscaster. His paintings have been known to fetch thousands of dollars, and he was an exceptional pianist. People in the public eye often add up to much more than the sum of what the public sees.

And yet James’ public contributions meant so much to generations of fans who hung on his every word and learned to associate his voice with their favorite sports memories.

Although he retired from broadcasting in 2000, James’ death leaves a void, even as his amazing work ethic and attention to detail will continue to inspire.