Longtime Clippers Broadcaster Ralph Lawler Retiring After Season
Clippers TV broadcaster Ralph Lawler said that this NBA season "will be his last" as he will retire after 40 years on the job, according to Bill Plaschke of the L.A. TIMES. Lawler said that he is in "good health," and that he "actually made the decision a year ago." He was "going to wait until April 10, the final regular-season game at Staples Center, to reveal it, but the Clippers wanted to properly honor him throughout the year." Lawler will retire having "made an imprint on his organization that mirrors those made" by the three great L.A. announcers who retired before him: Vin Scully (Dodgers), Chick Hearn (Lakers) and Bob Miller (Kings). Clippers Owner Steve Ballmer said Lawler "isn't just the voice of the team, he has been the heart and soul of the Clippers" (L.A. TIMES, 9/13). In California, Mirjam Swanson notes Lawler started with the then-San Diego Clippers in '78, the team’s "first year in California, before moving with the franchise" to L.A. six years later. He has "called more than 3,100 games and is one of a select group of announcers who have called games in each of the four major U.S. sports leagues." Some of Lawler's "closest friends and colleagues from across his career -- including former longtime broadcast partner Bill Walton -- will join him as his broadcast partner for special games" this season. The Clippers' regular-season finale on April 10 against the Jazz at Staples Center "will be Ralph Lawler Night." The first 10,000 fans at the game "will receive Ralph Lawler bobbleheads," and the evening will be a "celebration of Lawler's career" (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 9/13).
TWITTER REAX: ESPN L.A.'s Arash Markazi: "Much like the team he was the voice of, Ralph Lawler often got lost in the mix in LA amongst Chick Hearn (Lakers), Vin Scully (Dodgers) and Bob Miller (Kings) but he was one of the all-time greats and deserves all the accolades that will no doubt come his way." L.A. Radio personality Andy Kamenetzky: "Pretty crazy to think about games without Ralph Lawler. The guy has done tremendous work, even when the teams and the franchise were atrocious. Easily the greatest Clipper of all-time." L.A. Times' Ben Bolch: "Never met a more gracious and talented man and wish him the best." Memphis Commercial Appeal's Evan Barnes: "Most NBA fans know Lawler’s Law. But I love Lawler’s 'Bingo!!' as my favorite call of his. Hope he gets all the love this upcoming season." Basketball Insiders' Eric Pincus: "He's an institution."