Collins, a former Globe tennis writer, first began his televised commentary in the early 1960s, making him the first print journalist to become an onscreen analyst. He later went on to cover tennis for NBC, ESPN, the Tennis Channel and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
"No media figure in history in my mind has ever been as important to one sport as Bud Collins was to the sport of tennis," said ESPN commentator Mike Lupica. "You can't minimize it. He became the de facto ambassador to that sport as it was exploding in this country. He educated. He entertained."
Collins was also famous for his colorful attire, specifically his flamboyant, custom-tailored pants.
He is survived by his wife, Anita Ruthling Klaussen; his, daughter, Suzanna Mathews; his son, Rob Lacy; six stepchildren from previous marriages; and 11 grandchildren.