Alexander: Ralph Lawler’s Clippers career should have its end point at Hall of Fame

first_img Clippers vs. Mavericks Game 5 playoff updates from NBA beat reporters But it is hard to understand how Lawler isn’t among that number. He is making his final journey around the NBA circuit before retiring at the end of this Clippers season, his 40th, and you can make the case that he should be a Hall of Famer just for enduring – and making listenable – some of those 9- and 12- and 17-win seasons his teams produced during the early years.Heck, he should be recognized just for Lawler’s Law, or as he puts it: “First team to 100 wins. It’s the law.” (That theory, by the way, is a perfect 13 for 13 so far this season with these Clippers, who are 8-5 and might not have a lot of star power but are extremely fun to watch.)“I don’t think about (the Hall), but people talk to me about it and newspaper writers, reporters, talk about it,” he said. “The Clippers would love to see it happen because it would be a star for them as well as it would be a great honor for me.“But I didn’t go into this business for that. I got the star on the (Hollywood) Walk of Fame (in 2016). I never, ever dreamed that would happen. If I never get another honor the rest of my life, I will go to my grave very, very content.”The truly talented do tend to be the most humble, you know. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error And it is worth noting that Lawler has outlasted all of his peers in the L.A. market. It was quite the quartet: Chick Hearn, Vin Scully, Bob Miller and Lawler, all at one point calling games on the Fox Sports L.A. regional networks.“Bob (who retired from Kings broadcasts after the 2016-17 season) and I are the same age,” said Lawler, 80. “Chick and Vin (were) well older than I and continued in their careers well beyond what I intend to.“I’d be 70 years old, 65 years old, and those three guys had all been here, it seemed, like forever. But to be included in that quartet is pretty amazing. … This city has been very, very kind to those of us in my business, allowing us into their homes all these years.”This is a final lap of a career that was jump-started some 60 miles east and nearly six decades ago, when a young broadcaster out of Bradley University in Peoria, Ill., took a job at KPRO-AM in Riverside in 1961 and quickly found himself on the same career ground floor as a young basketball coach who would achieve some fame himself (including a plaque of his own in Springfield), Jerry Tarkanian.Lawler broadcast local sports, including three straight state championship seasons of Tark’s Riverside City College teams (some copies of a commemorative record they made of those calls might still be floating around Riverside), and he also called auto races at old Riverside International Raceway. Ultimately, he parlayed those tapes into a move to Philadelphia to broadcast the Flyers and then the 76ers and do a nightly sportscast, and in 1978 he returned west when the Buffalo Braves moved to San Diego and became the Clippers.The only season since that Lawler wasn’t the Clippers’ voice was 1984-85, the team’s first in Los Angeles, when Eddie Doucette was hired as the play-by-play guy. Even then, Lawler filled in on a number of broadcasts, and by the fall of 1985 he was back at the mic full-time.Thus, when the current Clippers visited Philadelphia on Nov. 1, it severely tested Lawler’s resolve to not wallow in nostalgia while there was still a season to call.“I wasn’t prepared for it,” said Lawler, who said that he and his wife, Jo, who travels with him throughout the season, both were struck by the realization that this was their last NBA visit to Philly.“At least it’s a different building than where I worked, which takes some of the nostalgia out of it,” he said. “But a lot of the same people. … It’s been 40 years since I left Philadelphia, for crying out loud, and two or three reporters who were working press members back in the 1970s were there to greet me and say hello. And Elton Brand, a former Clippers great who is now (the 76ers’) general manager, was terrific. We had him on the air with us. It was the one stop so far where it really kind of tugged at my heartstrings and I thought, ‘Oh, man, this really is different.’”Other former players – Quentin Richardson, Darius Miles and Ron Harper, among others – have reached out to wish Lawler well. Meanwhile, former broadcast partners will take turns joining Lawler on Fox Sports Prime Ticket games. Corey Maggette and Don MacLean have already done so, and Hubie Brown, Mike Fratello and, yes, Bill Walton will be taking their turns.Related Articles Clippers hope they can play to their capabilities, quell Mavericks’ momentum For Lakers’ LeBron James, Jacob Blake’s shooting is bigger issue than a big Game 4 victory center_img Kristaps Porzingis ruled out as Clippers, Mavericks set for Game 5; Follow for game updates But it can’t be about then, Lawler has decided. Until it’s over and he and Jo retire to their property in Oregon, it has to be about now.“I’m trying really hard just to keep my eye on the ball, so to speak, because I really enjoy what I do and I want to enjoy these final 70-some games, whatever it is that we have left, and enjoy them to the absolute fullest,” he said.“The rest of it is something I understand, that people want to talk (about it) because it’s so unusual for somebody, anybody in any field, to have the same job for 40 years. I’m really blessed. I think the one who should be getting interviewed rather than me, because I’ve loved every day of it, is some poor guy or woman who’s worked 40 years on a job they hated but somehow survived. They really deserve the praise.”They probably deserve a spot in a Hall of Fame somewhere as well. If Ralph gets in, as he should, we can assume he represents them, [email protected]@Jim_Alexander on Twitter What the Clippers are saying the day after Luka Doncic’s game-winner tied series, 2-2 LOS ANGELES — So what exactly is it going to take to get Ralph Lawler to Springfield?“I have no idea,” the voice of the Clippers said the other night, chuckling. “I guess rent me a car.”This is not the first time it has been brought up, and it won’t be the last until those in charge rectify an egregious omission.The Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass., has presented the Curt Gowdy Media Award to broadcasters and print journalists for the last 30 years. The broadcasters who have won it have been either big national names or beloved local guys, and all have been deserving.last_img

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