minoroots

Chick-y-baby

Posted in Lakers, Tribute, Video by minoroots on 08/05/2010

Chick Hearn passed away on August 5th, 2002. It’s hard to believe that it’s already been 8 years.

Do yourself a favor and go check out the tribute to Chick from TNLP blog.

I never had a chance to meet the man himself but it seemed like I knew him forever because I grew up listening to him and because we shared that one common ground of basketball. Chick Hearn brought people together with his infectious enthusiasm of the game… and his enthusiasm of life itself.

With Spero Dedes gone, I’ll miss Chick even more during the upcoming season…

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Lakers Haven’t Won Since Chick Left

Posted in Lakers, Tribute by minoroots on 05/15/2009

My last post brought back some nostalgia from the Chick Hearn-era of Laker basketball. The Lakers haven’t won the title since Chick Hearn passed away in late 2002. Hopefully this year changes things… but boy, would it be great to have him right now to point this team in the right direction. I realized that on the current team, only Kobe and Fish were around to get to know Chick during their time with the Lakers.

Here’s one excerpt that really reminded me of how great Chick really was:

It was a thing to behold, Chick Hearn doing play-by-play. Nobody ever tries to imitate him. Other basketball announcers are content to merely call the name of each player who touches the ball, then review the play in its aftermath. Hearn kept you right up to date. If a player made a stutterstep move, then dribbled to his left and around a screen to the corner of the key, then pulled up for a jumper, you’d get the hesitation, an assessment of its effect on the defender, the dribble, the name of the screener and the spot on the floor where the shooter popped up, expressed in terms of direction and distance from the basket, and if another defender stepped up you’d get his name too, all with enough time to spare for Hearn to say the ball was “on the way” — while it still was. And if the shooter was fouled and the shot missed: “Counts-if-it-GOES-it-doesn’t-go!”

Try it sometime, just for fun, to see if you can do it. Nobody else ever does. Not with a microphone turned on anyway.

I just imagined it, and I can hear Chick making that call (really, just try to call the scene out loud as if you were Chick—it’s impossible). And that part about other announcers merely calling the names of players who touch the ball, then review the play afterward? So true. It’s so slow & easy today, since they’re calling the action retroactively over a slow-motion instant replay. Turn on ESPN or TNT and take a listen to Mike Breen or Kevin Harlan… they’re good, but nowhere near Chick good.

…and about my previous rant on how the Lakers would’ve responded to Chick—I’ll let this anecdote speak for itself:

CNNSI.com: Do you have a favorite Chick memory?

Taylor: A few years ago, when Kobe Bryant was in maybe his second year and Del Harris was the Lakers’ head coach, Chick came down to the court and wanted to talk to a few players before the game. He called to Kobe at exactly the same time that Harris did, and you could see that Kobe had a decision to make about who he was going to respond to.

Kobe started toward Chick, and Chick gave him a quick, little shake of the head that said, “No, no. Go to Del.” And that’s what Kobe did. That really told me the kind of respect he got, that players kind of ranked him above their coach.

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A Tribute to Chick (part 1 of many)

Posted in Hoops, Tribute by minoroots on 11/11/2008
Francis Dale Chick Hearn

Francis Dayle "Chick" Hearn

If you know me, if you’ve ever talked to me about basketball, or if you’ve read any of my posts, you know about my passion for the Lakers. And if you’ve ever talked with me extensively about the Lakers, or if you’ve read my profile, you’ll know that the late Chick Hearn–legendary long-time Laker announcer who’s innovative play-by-play commentary spanned the careers of Jerry West, Elgin Baylor, the Showtime Lakers, and the Shaq/Kobe era–holds a special place in my heart.

See, I’ve grown to fall in love with basketball from a young age, but it probably wasn’t in a typical way (or at least that’s what I think). I imagine that most basketball fans (or any other sport, for that matter) are sort of ‘born into’ it. What I mean is that their parent or parents are already big fans of the sport, whether it be basketball, baseball, football or anything else, and these parents probably watch and/or play the game around or with their kids, and their kids naturally learn to love the sport. At leasts that’s what I see out of most of my basketball loving friends. Many of them pretty much grew up with their dad/brother/uncle/cousin as their personal basketball coach.

For me, growing up in an immigrant household, nobody in the house knowing a thing about basketball, and it was difficult to pick up the little nuances of the game. Sure, my parents enrolled me into the local J-league basketball team, but I can honestly say that at the age of 6, I knew nothing at all about basketball. Not a single rule, not a single athlete–heck, I didn’t even know the NBA existed.

But I am so grateful for my parents for taking me to the local Community Center, for letting me play with the West Covina Sabers, and creating that initial link between me and basketball. From there, Coach Ray (aka Randy’s dad) taught me the basics of hoop, and weekly trips to the gym became a part of my life.

But Chick–Chick was the one who really made me fall in love with the Lakers, with the sport of basketball itself. Who can forget his amazing “Words-Eye-View”? His vast number of “Chick-isms,” which today are synonymous with and are absolutely necessary to the vernacular of the game? Without ever seeing me and meeting me in-person, Chick single-handedly taught me more than anybody ever has about the game of basketball.

With Chick, you didn’t need to be watching anything–he can make you visualize what was happening on the court. You can ‘see’ it. If you didn’t know what a ‘hop-step’ was, you’d definitely know after Chick described it as a “Bunny-hop in the pea patch.” You know that Nick “The Quick” Van Exel knocked down a line-drive jumper with no arc whatsoever because Chick would tell you it was “A Frozen Rope!” A foul called was so obvious that you can “Call it with braille.”

The only announcer I know with a retired jersey in his honor

The only announcer I know with a retired jersey in his honor

Among his many “Chick-isms,” there are a few that I think would surprise you to know that he was the originator of the term. Honestly, tell me if anybody in the world can announce a hoops game today without using these words coined by Chick:

  • “Slaaaaaaaaam Dunk!”
  • “Air-Ball”
  • “Layup”
  • “BLOOOOOOWS the layup!”
  • “Dribble-drive”
  • “Give-and-go”
  • “Triple-double”
  • “No-look pass”
  • “Ticky-tack foul”

You can’t, right? But Chick made it possible to call the games in an exciting way that we all enjoy today.

From Nov. 21, 1965, Chick announced a whopping 3,338 CONSECUTIVE Laker games over the course of 36 years. Chick never took a day off. He passed away on August 5, 2002, and as fate would have it, the Lakers haven’t won a championship since.

I miss Chick. He was like my grandpa over the radio. I’ll try and post about Chick and his contributions to the game from time to time here.

Here’s to the greatest NBA announcer there ever was, and ever will be.