Ralph Lawler Enters the Hall of Fame
By Earl Heath, Contributing Sports Writer
What is an awesome way to culminate a career: how-a-bout The Hall of Fame.
After forty years and a few months after calling his final game as Los Angeles Clipper announcer Ralph Lawler makes it into the Naismith Hall of Fame in Spring Field Mass..
He was raised in Peoria, Illinois and a graduate of Bradley University.
In the 1950’s on Saturdays Lawler and his dad would watch The NBA on a black and white T.V. The late Chick Hearn (Lakers) and Johnny Most (Celtics) were the voices Lawler use to listen to and later mentors. They were early recipients to the award. “To see your name on that list is breathtaking it really is, “ said Lawler.” I just wish my mom and dad were around it would have meant so much to them.”
He along with Marc Stein received the Curt Gowdy Media Award for broadcasting.
He worked at WKRO in Riverside where he called games for Riverside College who were coached by a young and upcoming Head Basketball Coach named Jerry Tarkanian. Riverside won three straight California championships during the tenure.
In the 70’s he called games for the San Diego Conquistadors of the ABA, and the NFL San Diego Chargers. In 1978 he joined the San Diego Clippers when they first moved to California from Buffalo (Braves). The team was there for six years before they moved to Los Angeles.
Ralph is one of the few broadcasters to have called games in all four US. Sports-NFL (Chargers), NBA (Sixers & Clippers), NHL-Flyers, and MLB (Phillies). With the Clippers he has called more than 3,100 games in 91 cities and six countries.
He has some great players as partners like Bill Walton, Marques Johnson, and Mike Smith to name a few.
He and his wife Jo have been together for over 4 decades. He once told me during an interview. “I wouldn’t be where I am without her.”
This is only one of the many awards Ralph has received. “After the Star on The Walk of Fame I thought my career was complete, then this happen.”
His trade mark calls: “ Oh Me Oh My”, “BINGO”, and Lawler’s Law (the first team to a hundred points will win).
He has spent 60 years behind the microphone, and has he has spent forty years with the Clippers. On his time with the Clippers: “I have to thank all the people in the Clippers front office,
the General Managers, the People at Fox, the people at channel 9, and all the stations that carried our games.”
He summed up this award- “Its a gift and anybody that’s gotten a job that they love for forty years are among the luckier people on earth and I know I am sure one of them.”
A pause by Lawler then-“ I guess my career is complete now.”