“To the left goes Magic…he’s got it. He didn’t shoot it…five seconds left. Magic down the middle, just what I thought. A hook shot at twelve, GOOD! Two seconds left! The Lakers take the lead on Magic Johnson’s running sky-hook! Hooie!”
Don Draper once said, “In Greek, nostalgia literally means the pain from an old wound. It’s a twinge in your heart, far more powerful than memory alone.” This is the sensation Lakernation feels when it reminisces about the late great Chick Hearn(November 27, 1916-August 5, 2002). We get a little misty eyed whenever we think about the great times we had with Chick in our living rooms. That place and those times can never be brought back but only remembered and shared with fellow Laker fans.
Lakers basketball is how Angelenos escape the daily grind of life. No matter how good or bad our day can go, there is always a glimmer of hope to end things on a high note with a Laker game. Chick was the voice of that hope and for 3,362 games he soothed our souls with sky hooks, slaaaaaam dunks, and hippity hop dribbles.
His unique phrases, known as Chickisms, were unlike anything else in sports broadcasting. Chick never failed to provide us with clever, descriptive, and down-right hilarious takes on a Laker game that warmed our hearts in way no one else could. Chick Hearn will always and forever be irreplaceable to Laker fans and Laker players. His signature phrase, “This game’s in the refrigerator: the door is closed, the lights are out, the eggs are cooling, the butter’s getting hard, and the Jello’s jigglin!” was the best way to culminate a Laker victory.
Despite his charming, grandfatherly demeanor and love for the Lakers, Chick was never a homer. He was always the first to point out poor Laker play and never apologized for doing so. He gave credit to the opposing team’s performance when it was warranted. As a young kid growing up in Echo Park, I was sometimes confused and frustrated at the way Chick would seemingly tease the Lakers when they were badly beaten. “The Lakers couldn’t beat the Sisters of Mercy!” was what he would bellow through the mic on bad nights. Deep down inside I knew he was right and this is what separated him from other broadcasters. Through a “words-eye-view”, Chick always told it like it was.
He pulled back the curtain for Showtime with the Magic Man, Big Game James, and the Captain. He called it for Steady Eddie Jones and Nick the Quick during the early 90s. And he crooned last for the Big Fella, the Kid, Foxy, and Fish in three-peat fashion. Thanks for the great memories, Chick.
Please share with us some of your favorite Chick Hearn moments.