As we head into the next Los Angeles Lakers season, and a new era in Lakers basketball, the staff here at Lakers Nation has decided to take a look back and rank the 10 greatest Lakers of all-time.
The staff put together a list of the most significant figures in franchise history based on accolades, achievements and statistics. While there were many deserving candidates, the group was ultimately narrowed down to 10.
The rankings were determined by solely focusing on each individual’s accomplishments with the Lakers. Without further ado, here’s selection no. 3.
Francis Dayle “Chick” Hearn
Seasons with Lakers: 42
Accolades: 3,338 consecutive games called (1965-2002), Gowdy Award Winner (1993), American Sportscaster Hall of Fame (1995), National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association Hall of Fame (1997), Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (2003), Star on Hollywood Walk of Fame
No matter how many people come after him, there will forever only be one voice of the Los Angeles Lakers and his name is Chick Hearn.
When the Lakers moved to Los Angeles from Minneapolis in 1960, Chick Hearn joined the team as its play-by-play man. He remained in that position until the day of his unfortunate passing, going down as the greatest broadcaster in the history of basketball and one of the best in sports period.
Hearn was legendary thanks to his ‘words-eye view’ style of commentary that made fans feel like they were in the building. He was the first to do a simulcast, broadcasting on television and radio at the same time, and never losing his form.
He was a ‘homer’ in every sense, but also a realist, always giving credit to the opposition when appropriate. You could always tell whether or not the Lakers were losing just by the sound of Chick’s voice and you could tell he felt every moment of every game.
Chick is most renowned for his astounding streak of 3,338 consecutive games called, a streak that lasted 37 years. Nearly every big moment in Lakers history has an excellent call from Chick behind it.
Not only that, but Chick was known for changing the entire language of the game of basketball. Terms like ‘slam dunk,’ ‘air ball,’ ‘triple-double,’ ‘finger roll,’ ‘give and go,’ and ‘garbage time’ were all created by Chick.
Additionally, Lakers fans always remember his special chickisms such as ‘the mustard is off the hot dog,’ ‘he put him in the popcorn machine,’ and ‘heart brrrrrrrrr-eak.’ And when the Lakers had the game won, we always looked forward to Chick putting the game in the refrigerator.
Even in his later years as Chick would sometimes mistake Shaq for Kareem or Kobe for Magic it didn’t matter, fans just wanted to hear Chick call the game. His death in 2002 was felt throughout the city of Los Angeles as everyone wanted to pay his respects.
Hearn’s accolades are astounding. He was the first broadcaster to be elected into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and he has his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
The Lakers honored him by retiring his own jersey inside of Staples Center as well as giving him a statue outside of the building.
Chick Hearn is a legend who will forever live on in the hearts of Lakers fans everywhere. He may not have put on a jersey, but he is entrenched in Lakers history forever.
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