Chick Hearn's Legacy
by Michael Josephson

In this cynical world where we eat our heroes, it's extraordinarily uplifting to experience a collective feeling of uninhibited affection and appreciation. I had such an experience not too long ago when Chick Hearn, the announcer for the Los Angeles Lakers, returned to the job after a 56-game hiatus due to illness.

Why the big deal? Well, Chick Hearn is 85 years old and prior to this gap on his work record he hadn't missed a day in 37 years! Already acclaimed as the best basketball announcer in history, he didn't need the applause or the money. He came back to work after open-heart surgery and a hip replacement simply to do the thing he loves.

Though I sit only six rows behind him at every Laker game, I've never met or spoken to the man. Yet like millions of others, I feel I know him, and I know I admire him.

Living in Los Angeles, a town known more for capriciousness than constancy and more for crash than class, Chick Hearn is more than a breath of fresh air, he is a monument to the existence and durability of virtue. His high competence and commitment and old-fashioned reliability earn him a legacy of respect. That he continues to do his job better than anyone else ever has merits admiration. The fact that he is such a thoroughly decent and gracious man warrants adulation.

I can't help but wonder, as rare as Chick is, how many other Chick Hearns, men and women of heroic character - teachers, postmen, receptionists, housekeepers - can be found in cities across this land and whether we appreciate them enough.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.


Main About Us Annual Dinner Hall of Fame Our Members

Becoming a Sportscaster Newsletter Articles of Interest Membership

Facts & Trivia Contact Us


1999 American Sportscasters Association, Inc.