The ol’ times of Purple and Gold In the Southern California Sportscasters Associationadmin
The other day at Lakeside Golf Course at Toluca Lake, I ran into Tommy Hawkins, a long-time local broadcaster who also worked for years in community affairs with the Los Angeles Dodgers at the Southern California Sportscasters Association luncheon.
“I broke Doug in,” he told Lisa Bowman, a previous broadcaster by herself.
“You did?” she reacted.
“Just ask him,” replied Hawkins.
We nodded having an amused smiled.
“How’d you break him in?” Bowman wondered.
“Introduced him around. . . revealed him the ropes,” related Hawkins. “Assured him that Wilt (Chamberlain) wouldn’t bite his mind off. . .”
We nodded once more, and started taking into consideration the 1968-69 NBA period for which I happened to be a wide-eyed, naive, energetic, young reporter assigned to cover a Laker team that do not only had Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor and Jerry western, but less popular players like Mel Counts, Johnny Egan, Keith Erickson, Billy Hewitt, Freddie Crawford and, needless to say, Tommy Hawkins.
At that time, Hawkins had been a 32-year-old, 6-foot-5 book ahead away from Notre Dame inside the tenth period into the NBA, plus it would turn into their last one.
For a beneficial percentage of the standard period, I became really the only journalist traveling utilizing the 11-man Laker group, and became kind of its de facto 12th guy.
Really, by mid-season I became addressed as a result by the players, and would play cards with them when on the road and best latin bride site reviews would ride the bus with them to the arenas with them during the plane trips and be invited to have dinner.
Tommy Hawkins indeed ended up being quite accommodating, as were the Laker broadcasters, Chick Hearn and Hot Rod Hundley, an inveterate skirt-chaser on a group filled with such kinds.
Blessedly, I became in a position to keep a relationship that is affable the volatile Chamberlain after a fairly erratic come from which he took exception to one thing I’d discussing him when you look at the L.A. Herald Examiner.
“Wilt Chamberlain was the tallest spectator in the Forum yesterday evening,” is the way in which we started one of many my tales in evaluating Chamberlain’s listless work within a Laker loss.
Well, a short time later on, he arrived at me and said, “Who in the (bleep) you think you are composing that (bleep)? across me personally when you look at the hallway associated with the Forum offices, looked down threateningly”
Utilizing the brazen disdain of youth, we pointed to my chin and stated challengingly to him, ‘Go ahead, Wilt, hit me personally. I’m broke. I want the amount of money.”
Wilt Chamberlain regarded me personally with a wondering appearance, shook their head, also handled a poor look, and stepped away.
He’d be certainly one of my closest buddies from the group from then on event, and I can’t keep in mind exactly how many times that period while the next when we’d rent cars and drive around towns and cities like Atlanta, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Milwaukee and Boston watching the feminine scenery.
The mentor of this Laker group ended up being Butch van Breda Kolff, in which he and we had a strained relationship through that period as a result of my close friendship with Chamberlain, as did VBK and Chamberlain.
We took Chamberlain’s part on a few disagreements that are passionate had with van Breda Kolff that We made general general general public, and Frank Deford also penned in a Sports Illustrated article that the Herald Examiner ended up being Chamberlain’s paper and also the L.A. circumstances had been VBK’s, that was accurate.
Nevertheless, despite our differences, van Breda Kolff never ever snubbed me personally, also welcoming me personally to have Thanksgiving supper aided by the group in Philadelphia.
It had been so various in those times for a newspaperman than it is currently.
The Lakers now have actually their very own airplane, and article writers aren’t permitted to travel about it.
Nor perform some authors now carry on the united group coach to your arena, when I regularly did.
Nor do they drive the trains, when I did aided by the team from ny to Baltimore to Boston on a single journey.
Nor do they get back because of the group after games to your resort, when I constantly did.
I’d scurry up to my space, lb out my story on a typewriter, then get a cab towards the nearest Western Union workplace, where somebody would telex it back again to my L.A. workplace.
Chick Hearn constantly kept everyone loose with their one-liners that are sarcastic and I also frequently had been the receiver of those, because had been the dour Laker trainer, Frank O’Neil.
We played lots of gin rummy games that season with Rod Hundley and Elgin Baylor, who had been a skilled card player and whom additionally were certainly one of my twelfth grade athletic idols.
As he happens to be, Baylor had been standoffish and guarded, but had a feeling of humor he frequently kept concealed, while Jerry western had been an affable chatterbox albeit the majority of their chatter never ever managed to make it into the sporting pages.
Chamberlain ended up being a loner whom went his or her own method off court, and I also can’t let you know what amount of very early night telephone calls on off times we received from Chamberlain welcoming us to possess dinner I always readily accepted with him, which.
Chamberlain gained extensive notoriety later on in the life as he reported in a guide us who knew him well and knew his proclivity for monumental exaggeration that he had sex with 20,000 women, a claim which inspired laughter from those of.
It had been a enjoyable, giddy time for me personally, and you will find countless stories I’m able to inform but won’t because I’m maybe not Jose Canseco and betray juicy tidbits that weren’t intended for general public visibility.
The group would win 55 season that is regular, plus it must have won the NBA name.
Bill Russell would walk from the Forum flooring for the last time on might 5, 1969, as he would lead the Boston Celtics up to a 108-106 make an impression on the Lakers in Game 7, once more having the better of Chamberlain, in addition to Baylor and western.
Jerry West wept afterwards, and, sheepishly, i need to acknowledge used to do for a second, too, a reporter that is young up when you look at the feeling of the dark minute of a group with that I had become therefore closely aligned.
Jack Kent Cooke, the Laker owner, would fire Bill van Breda Kolff a couple of days later, and Joe Mullaney is the mentor the next period whenever we yet again chronicled the group.
The 1969-70 Lakers also would lose within the NBA finals in a casino game 7 into the nyc Knicks.
But no rips arrived on the scene of my eyes following the setback.
The happy innocence that suffused my soul through the entire previous period had disappeared forever.