Born on March 25, 1918, Howard William Cohen grew up in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Polish and Jewish immigrants. His Brooklyn accent later becoming his trademark.

Cohen followed his parents wishes by entering the New York University of Law, obtaining his J.D and becoming part of the school's law review editorial team.

Cosell was admitted to the New York Bar in 1941 at the astonishingly young age of 23. But when Japan attacked Pearl Habor, he enlisted in the US Army where he attained the rank of Major in the United States Army Transportation Corps.

After the war, Cohen opened a law firm but found it difficult to attract clients, believing it to be because of his Jewishness. He had never bar mitzvah-ed and he resented his parents boycotting of his wedding to a Catholic girl. Howard  and his brother Hilton changed their surnames to Cosell (with just one s) in part to conceal their religion but also as a return to their ancestral surname of Kassell.

Howard CosellCosell joined Morro, Pomper and Cosell (later Pomper and Rubinton) in New York City. He hung out constantly at the sports field, chasing New York Yankees, buying them lunch on the law firm's account. He did little legal jobs for them such as filling out the liquor licenses applications for New York Giants stars Mickey Mantle and Monty Urban's stores. This brought him into contact with actors and professional athletes, such as Willie Mays, a client.

In 1953, a fledging baseball little league organization hired Marro Pomper and Cosell to draft their charter. Cosell leapt at the retainer. He was featured in a flattering magazine article.

Thus, Howard Cosell became known in baseball circles and began to stalk  television and radio executives, offering them free legal work.

Finally, he was offered a radio show about sports which he did for three years at the end of which, he was smitten with broadcasting.

In 1956, at the age of 38, he walked away from his law practice - never to return - and brashly asked ABC Radio for his own show. They declined from lack of an advertiser. Cosell promptly signed up a relative's company and Speaking of Sports was soon on the air.

Cosell pulled no punches: he once called the old boy's club International Olympic Committee chairman Avery Brundage "William of Orange".  Listeners flocked to his show. By 1961, he was the sports anchor at WABC-TV in New York City, a position he held until 1974.

During that time, he would frequently leave his post to join ABC Sports as boxing commentator, developing an unusual relationship with the boxer Muhammad Ali which the New York Times described as "the boxer's alter ego". In a nod to his attorney training, the Times added:

"Mr. Cosell was known for his knack for making the most straightforward observation sound as if it were being translated from the Latin"

The New York Post described his sports commentary style as making:

"...the world of fun and games sound like the Nuremberg trials"

In 1970, he added a prestigious post as commentator on Monday Night Football, a position he held until he was fired for a racist remark in 1983.

Cigar chompin' Cosell, an undeniable sports broadcasting legend, died in 1995.