Blog: 35 Years Of The Lakers And KCAL
Rashaun Haylock (CBS) @RHaylock — There are 1,000,001 cliches you can come up with pertaining to a break up. Both good and bad.
Sunday night could very well have been the end of an era. The finale, perhaps, of the 35-year marriage between the Lakers and KCAL9.
I’ll abstain from the cliches and instead opt for honesty.
I won’t pretend that I’ve been around for all 35 years of the marriage. If so, it would be far from the truth considering I haven’t been on God’s green earth for that long.
But like many of you, I grew up watching the Lakers on KCAL9.
Like you, when the Lakers were on, I was glued to the front of the TV inhaling every, single word that came out of the mouth of the great Chick Hearn. I listened as he told me that Earvin “Magic” Johnson was 6’9″ 220 out of Michigan State in East Lansing, Michigan.
Or how Big Game James hailed from North Carolina and how it was a homecoming for him whenever the team would visit the then-Charlotte Hornets.
Or how Reggie Miller is a local boy from UCLA and has a sister named Cheryl.
Or even how Byron Scott played at nearby Morningside High School and has a wife named Anita.
And who could forget the constant bickering from Chick aimed at his producer Susan Stratton.
I listened intently as taped interviews with him and stars like Hakeem Olajuwon played at halftime of Lakers games. I looked forward to it. Chick not only taught us the game, but he introduced us to these players who made a living dribbling the round, bouncy ball.
He taught us what a simulcast was.
Growing up, I didn’t have cable, so I couldn’t watch the Lakers on Prime Ticket or Prime Sports or FOX Sports West unless I was over a friend or relative’s house. The Lakers on KCAL9 was, literally, all I knew.
Chick’s detail became ingrained as the mic was passed on to Paul Sunderland, Joel Meyers, and lastly Bill MacDonald.
The product on the floor spoiled us as KCAL9 was an outlet to watch some of the greatest players to ever step foot in the NBA do their thing.
Los Angeles could have very well been known at Titletown as they spoiled us with championship banners and Victory parades of which were seen right here on the home of the Lakers.
For the past seven years, I’ve had the luxury to play a small part in Lakers broadcasts on KCAL9. When you do the math, that’s just one-fifth of the time the Lakers have been here on this station.
It’s just a small piece of the pie, but a slice nonetheless that means a great deal to me. I’ve watched some of, who I feel, are the best in the business put the pictures together that came across your television during LTV Pre and Postgames along with Lakers game broadcasts.
There were people I watched take care of LTV like they were guarding there very own child. There was Lou Cook and Patrick Smith writing sensational stories. I’ve seen Kharlo Gharabegian, Nik Kuo, and Armen Keuilian make them all come to life with their great editorial skills. Before any of that became possible, there was Glenn Shimada and Brian Singer, Danny Ayala, and Rodney Hunt to capture shots through a lens like it’s nobody’s business. All under the watchful eye of W. Scott Henry, affectionately known as “Shenry” around these parts.
And that’s just to name a few. There’s more where that came from and plenty more before my one-fifth ever came along.
If, Sunday proved to be the last hoorah for the Lakers and KCAL9, what a way to go out. A win, in the playoffs nonetheless, to give the Lakers a 3-1 series lead over the Denver Nuggets. The pictures at the end of the broadcast told the story.
35 years. That in itself is a loaded statement.
What a ride. I’m just glad I got my one-fifth.