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Bob Ryan, friend to NBA fans worldwide, retires from full-time work at the Boston Globe

Bob Ryan retired from full-time duty at the Boston Globe on Sunday. He'll remain with the paper in a rarer, column-heavy capacity; but he's decided to walk away from covering games after 44 years at the paper. To a lot of you outside the Globe's local reach, he's best known for his national TV presence -- appearing on myriad NBA TV and ESPN retrospectives, along with "The Sports Reporters." To a lot of me, he's the best host "Pardon the Interruption" ever had (sorry, Tony and Mike).

And to those of you choosing to take the time to read an NBA blog in the heart of the slow season, Ryan was a basketball fan's greatest hope in the press box. Passionate, yet aware of the sort of nuance and dexterity that it takes to write the perfect column. Armed with the smarts that all sports writers are charged with accruing, and the memory that only the most devoted of fans are able to sustain. To that end, here's one of the more telling reminders of Ryan's devotion to craft, as he effortlessly provides details and anecdotes behind nearly every participant in the NBA's 1972 draft:

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