On Sept. 5, 2003, the legendary Chick Hearn of the Los Angeles Lakers became the first broadcaster inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. The induction came a little over a year after his death in August of 2002.
When the Lakers moved to Los Angeles from Minneapolis in 1960, Hearn joined the organization as its play-by-play announcer, where he remained until the day of his unfortunate passing.
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.
The Lakers have since honored him by retiring his own jersey inside of Staples Center as well as giving him a statue outside of the building.
Perhaps the most impressive thing about Hearn is that he never took a day all, calling 3,338 consecutive games from 1965-2002. Throughout his illustrious career, Hearn accumulated accolades such as 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) and a Star on Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Hearn was also known for changing the entire language of the game of basketball. Terms like ‘slam dunk,’ ‘airball,’ ‘triple-double,’ ‘finger roll,’ ‘give and go,’ and ‘garbage time’ were all created by Chick.
While he is no longer with us, Hearn’s legacy will live on in the Purple and Gold forever and Lakers fans across the world are undoubtedly grateful for all the memories he gave them in his long career.
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