The Los Angeles Lakers Monday evening conducted their annual Chick Hearn Night, honoring their late longtime broadcaster at the game against the Indiana Pacers at Crypto.com Arena.
Various videos of Hearn were played before the Lakers took the court. Scholarships to two students attending the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism were presented at halftime and a special Hearn video was played.
Hearn was the play-by-play announcer for USC football and basketball games from 1956-61.
Since Hearn’s death in 2002, the Lakers have designated their home game closest to the Nov. 27 anniversary of his birth in 1916 as Chick Hearn Night.
Hearn was the Lakers’ play-by-play broadcaster from the start of their radio broadcasts during the 1961 NBA playoffs until his death. He coined many phrases, including slam dunk, which have transcended basketball into use in everyday life.
Hearn’s skill as an announcer is credited with helping turn the Lakers from a team that drew 4,008 fans for its first game in Los Angeles in 1960 to becoming one of the nation’s most popular sports franchises.
Hearn was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2003.
“He was the best basketball announcer ever,” Lakers television play-by-play announcer Bill Macdonald said, citing Hearn’s passion for the game, delivery, cadence, humor, knowledge, love of the team and honesty.
“We were just all lucky to grow up listening to him.”