The ol’ days of Purple and Gold during the Southern California Sportscasters Association

The ol’ days of Purple and Gold during the Southern California Sportscasters Association

At the Southern California Sportscasters Association luncheon last week at Lakeside greens at Toluca Lake, we ran into Tommy Hawkins, a long-time regional broadcaster whom additionally struggled to obtain years in community affairs utilizing the l . a . Dodgers.

“I broke Doug in,” he told Lisa Bowman, a previous broadcaster by herself.

“You did?” she reacted.

“Just ask him,” responded 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 their head off. . .”

We nodded once more, and started taking into consideration the 1968-69 NBA period by which I became a wide-eyed, naive, energetic, young reporter assigned to cover a Laker group 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 the time, Hawkins ended up being a 32-year-old, 6-foot-5 reserve ahead away from Notre Dame in their 10th period within the NBA, plus it would grow to be their final one.

For a great part of the standard period, I happened to be the sole journalist traveling with all the 11-man Laker group, and became type of its de facto man that is 12th.

Really, by mid-season I happened to be addressed as a result because of the players, and would play cards using them throughout the airplane trips and become invited to own dinner using them whenever on the way and would drive the coach with them into the arenas.

Tommy Hawkins certainly ended up being quite accommodating, as were the Laker broadcasters, Chick Hearn and Hot Rod Hundley, an inveterate skirt-chaser on a group full of such kinds.

Blessedly, I happened to be in a position to maintain a relationship that is affable the volatile Chamberlain after a fairly erratic come from which he took exclusion to one thing I’d discussed him within the L.A. Herald Examiner.

“Wilt Chamberlain was the tallest spectator in the Forum yesterday evening,” is the way in which we exposed one of many my tales in evaluating Chamberlain’s listless work throughout a Laker loss.

Well, a short time later on, he arrived at me and said, “Who when you look at the (bleep) you think you will be composing that (bleep)? across me into the hallway associated with the Forum workplaces, looked down threateningly”

Because of the disdain that is brazen of, we pointed to my chin and stated challengingly to him, ‘Go ahead, Wilt, hit me personally. I’m broke. I would like the amount of money.”

Wilt Chamberlain regarded me personally with a curious appearance, shook their mind, also handled a poor look, and wandered away.

He’d become certainly one of my closest buddies in the group from then on incident, and I also can’t keep in mind exactly how many times that period additionally the next when rent that is we’d and drive around metropolitan areas like Atlanta, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Milwaukee and Boston watching the feminine scenery.

The advisor of the Laker group ended up being Butch van Breda Kolff, in which he and I also had a strained relationship during 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 public, and Frank Deford also had written in a Sports Illustrated article that the Herald Examiner ended up being Chamberlain’s paper therefore 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 possess Thanksgiving supper because of the group in Philadelphia.

It abthereforelutely was so various in those times for a newspaperman than it is currently.

The Lakers now have their very own airplane, and authors aren’t allowed to travel about it.

Nor perform some article writers now continue the united group bus into the arena, when I regularly did.

Nor do they drive the trains, when I did utilizing the group from ny to Baltimore to Boston using one journey.

Nor do they get back with all the united group after games towards the resort, when I constantly did.

I’d scurry up to my space, lb out my tale on a typewriter, then get a cab to your nearest Western Union workplace, where somebody would telex it back once again to my L.A. workplace.

Chick Hearn constantly kept everyone loose with their one-liners that are sarcastic and I also usually ended up being the receiver of these, since had been the dour Laker trainer, Frank O’Neil.

We played plenty of gin rummy games that season with Rod Hundley and Elgin Baylor, who had been a skilled card player and whom additionally been certainly one of my senior school athletic idols.

As he is currently, Baylor had been standoffish and guarded, but had a feeling of humor he usually kept concealed, while Jerry western was an affable chatterbox albeit nearly all of their chatter never ever managed to get into the sporting pages.

Chamberlain had been a loner whom went his very own means off court, and I also can’t let you know what amount of very very early night telephone calls on off times we received from Chamberlain inviting us to possess supper with him, that I constantly readily accepted.

Chamberlain gained extensive notoriety later on in the life as he claimed in a book which he had intercourse with 20,000 ladies, a claim which inspired laughter from those of us whom knew him well and knew their proclivity for monumental exaggeration.

It had been a enjoyable, giddy time because i’m not Jose Canseco and betray juicy tidbits that weren’t intended for public exposure for me, and there are countless stories I can tell but won’t.

The group would win 55 regular period games, and it also must have won the NBA name.

Bill Russell would walk from the Forum flooring when it comes to time that is final 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 later, and, sheepishly, i need to acknowledge used to do for a minute, too, a reporter that is young up into the feeling of the dark moment 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 on, and Joe Mullaney is the mentor the season that is next we again chronicled the group.

The 1969-70 Lakers additionally would lose into the NBA finals in a casino game 7 to your nyc Knicks.

But no rips arrived on the scene of my eyes following the setback.

The innocence that is glad suffused my soul for the past period had disappeared forever.