Retired Los Angeles Kings broadcaster Bob Miller will be immortalized with a statue outside Staples Center, where his likeness will join those of luminaries including Wayne Gretzky, Chick Hearn and Earvin “Magic” Johnson, the Kings announced Wednesday.
“There are moments in a person’s career that never enter your wildest dreams,” Miller said. “A statue of me unveiled outside Staples Center is something I never thought of in my life. I wish to thank AEG and LA Kings management for this distinction. I am truly honored to be joining some of the great athletes of our time, as well as my good friend, the late Chick Hearn, who 44 years ago recommended me for the Kings job.
Being with one professional NHL team during my career has been an extreme pleasure,” Miller said.
The statue will be unveiled Jan. 13 during a “Bob Miller Celebration Day” prior to the Kings game with the Anaheim Ducks. Fans attending the game will receive a Bob Miller bobblehead.
“Bob Miller will forever be the Voice of the LA Kings and we look forward to honoring Bob and his family as part of this very special evening in January,” Kings president and hockey hall of famer Luc Robitaille said. “It is a tremendous honor and one Bob certainly deserves.”
Miller’s statute will be the ninth in Star Plaza outside Staples Center. His statute will be created by Julie Rotblatt Amrany and Omri Amrany, who also created the statues of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Hearn, Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal, Robitaille and Jerry West in Star Plaza.
The plaza also includes statutes of International Boxing Hall of Fame member Oscar De La Hoya and Gretzky, the NHL’s all-time leading scorer.
Miller, who will turn 79 on Thursday, announced his retirement March 2, and in April, he called the 3,353rd and final game of his 44-season career with the Kings.
“Due to four separate health incidents the last year, quadruple bypass heart surgery, a transient ischemic attack, a mild stroke and a stent placed in my left carotid artery, and with doctor’s advice to slow down, it’s time for me to retire,” Miller said when he announced his retirement.
Miller became a hockey announcer in 1968, when the program director at his radio station in Madison, Wisconsin, told him he would be announcing a University of Wisconsin game the following Friday because it was the school’s only team to win consistently and draw standing-room-only crowds.
Miller first sought to be hired by the Kings in 1972, when the team’s original announcer, Jiggs McDonald, left for the expansion Atlanta Flames.
Hearn recommended Miller for the job, but team owner Jack Kent Cooke hired California Golden Seals announcer Roy Storey.
When Storey was fired after one season, Hearn again recommended Miller, with Cooke going along that second time.
There was a benefit to the one-season delay in joining the Kings. Staying at Wisconsin, he broadcast the Badgers during their 1972-73 NCAA championship season.
Miller waited 39 years to broadcast another title-winning team, when the Kings won the Stanley Cup in 2012, which they won again in 2014.
Miller’s honors include the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award, given to members of the television and radio industries for outstanding contributions to their profession and hockey, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and membership in the halls of fame of the Kings and Southern California Sports Broadcasters Association.
–City News Service
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