As some of our Twitter followers know, Chick Hearn passed away 8 years ago today. Whether you’re a young fan, or old; it’s hard to avoid what Chick Hearn means to the Los Angeles Lakers, and the fans. It’s safe to say that he seemed like more of a friend than a Lakers employee to those who let him in their homes a minimum of 82 times a year. Growing up a fan, we’re all products of Chick Hearn’s Lakers loyalty and knowledge.
Chick symbolizes so much to generations of fans, that we always jump at the chance to talk about him. Today, our friends over at The No Looks Pass posted a slam dunk of a read (see what I did there) on Chickie Baby. Nate Jones of Fanhouse wrote a great piece last year — today would be a good day to share it with the Lakers Nation.
If you lived in Los Angeles at anytime from the time the Lakers moved to L.A. in the early 1960’s to the last of the Shaq/Kobe championships in 2002, you are probably quite familiar with Francis “Chick” Hearn. And even if you aren’t from L.A., you might still be familiar with Chick, as he was probably the greatest play-by-play man in the history of basketball.
Chick was most known for his famous catch phrases known as “Chick-isms“. The most famous of those Chick-isms is probably “slaaaam dunk” (yes, he invented the word “slam dunk”).
In all my years of watching basketball, Chick might be the only play-by-play man that was able to keep up with the pace of the game. Of course his rapid fire style was born out of his pre-television days. Without television, radio play-by-play announcers had to paint a picture of the game with their words. Chick called his play-by-play style his “words eye view”, and it was most certainly that.
For a time my family didn’t have cable television, so I had to listen to the radio to catch Lakers home games. Trust me when I say there wasn’t much of a difference between watching the games on television with Chick Hearn calling them and hearing Chick call the game on Lakers radio. He was that good. In fact, Chick was such a prolific announcer that when the Lakers played national television games, I would mute the television and turn on the radio to hear Chick call the game. I know this was a common thing for most fans to do in Los Angeles.