Culver City Observer -

Ralph Lawler Night At Staples Center

Clippers Honor Long-Time Announcer


March 12, 2015

Ralph Lawler

By Mitch Chortkoff

Sports Editor

Ralph Lawler began broadcasting San Diego Clipper basketball games in 1978.

Six years later the team moved to Los Angeles and it seemed likely Lawler wouldn't leave San Diego – a city he loved.

But he did leave because he loved broadcasting NBA games even more.

In LA he worked in the shadow of legendary broadcaster Chick Hearn, who had championship after championship to describe as the Lakers ruled the city.

But gradually, Lawler began receiving the appreciation he deserved.

And, after 36 years on the job Lawler was honored with a night filled with joy and love from the Clippers' organization Monday evening. A large group of former Clipper players and fellow Los Angeles broadcasters turned out and expressed their thanks on the Staples center message board during the Cippers' victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

"Ralph is everything you want in a sportscaster," said the Dodgers Vin Scully. "He's accurate, enthusiastic and interesting. God bless him."

Clippers coach Doc Rivers said "I'm impressed with his passion for the games after all the years he's done this."

Former Clipper all-star Marques Johnson spoke for the many players Lawler has described on the air by saying "thank you. We appreciate everything you've done."

Until recent years Lawler covered losing teams – so many in fact that some journalists wondered why he stayed with the Clippers.

"I've never lost a game," Lawler replied. "The team might lose but I'm doing a job I thoroughly enjoy."

Lawler, who has worked 2,838 Clipper games, is the only sports broadcaster I know who takes his wife on every trip. Wife Jo is truly unique in this profession.

T-shirts featuring Lawler's favorite expressions – Bingo, Oh Me, Oh My and First Team To Reach 100 Wins, It's the Law, were distributed to the sellout crowd.

Among the former Clippers on hand were Gary Grant, Pooh Richardson, Marques Johnson, Lamond Murray, John Williams and Coach Gene Shue.

It was a pleasure for me to see Williams, who I befriended when was an all-city player at Crenshaw High before he reached the NBA with the Clippers.

Rivers said the first time a Clippers' uniform will be retired it will have Lawler's name.

A Clippers' championship would become the highlight of Lawler's career but that hasn't happened yet. Some year maybe.

Bosmat Eynav contributed to this article


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