In lieu of the regular season, Laker Nation has decided to take you back through Laker history to recap important games, record-breaking performances and memorable news from the past 64 years of the franchise. We understand that it’s not the basketball you may have been hoping for, but for the time being, it’s the closest we’ll get to reading about the Lakers on a basketball court.
NOVEMBER 21, 1965
CHICK HEARN BEGINS BROADCASTING STREAK
Near the end of the Lakers first season in Los Angeles, 44-year-old Francis Hearn was brought on to be the main team broadcaster. Hearn, who had previously to that point called games for USC football and basketball, was the first play-by-play broadcaster in the franchise’s Los Angeles history.
In Francis “Chick” Hearn’s four years as the primary broadcaster for the Los Angeles Lakers, he had only missed one game. However, when Hearn would travel to Fayetteville, Arkansas in 1965 to call a morning college football game between Arkansas and Texas Tech, inclement weather would keep him from flying back to Las Vegas to call the Lakers exhibition game against the San Francisco Warriors. He would miss the November 20th game, able to return to the team the following day in their game against the Philadelphia 76ers, and would not miss a game for the next 36 years.
Hearn’s streak of consecutive called games would stretch on for 3,338 games before having to sit out during the 2001-02 season due to cardiac bypass surgery. After recovering from his surgery and a broken hip, Hearn would return near the end of the season, drawing a standing ovation from the crowd at Staples Center. Hearn would call his final game at Game 4 of the 2002 NBA Finals, where the Lakers would sweep the New Jersey Nets to win their third consecutive NBA championship.
Quote of the Night: “Those things just popped out, you know, like, ‘Put him in the popcorn machine.’ I couldn’t say on the air what we used to say when I was playing and somebody faked another guy out.” – Former Laker broadcaster Chick Hearn on his innovative broadcasting style. – From the Chicago Tribune, Mar. 15 1992