After 36 years as the broadcasting voice of the Los Angeles Clippers, Ralph Lawler was honored by the team with #LawlerNight and March 9th was officially declared “Ralph Lawler Day” by the city of L.A.
On hand to honor the man who has been through thick and thin with the Clippers was his broadcast partner Mike Smith, as well as a number of former Clippers players.
City Council President Herb J. Wesson Jr. presented Lawler with a framed proclamation officially recognizing “Ralph Lawler Day.”
“I’m just thrilled that you’re all here. I’ve always felt that I work for the fans,” commented Lawler showing the genuine class that has endeared him to Clipper fans everywhere as well as colleagues in the media.
“I don’t know what I’ve done to deserve this, I just show up for work every day. It’s MY pleasure believe me. Thank you all so much.”
In addition to the halftime celebration, several key media personnel provided video recorded messages for their estemeed colleague, including the voice of the Dodgers, Vin Scully.
Several current Clippers players, as well as head coach Doc Rivers also provided congratulatory messages for Ralph in the form of videos.
Although the Clippers organization took it upon themselves to acknowledge an outstanding man who takes his craft seriously, as much now as he 36 years ago, the celebration felt somewhat incomplete, or at least rushed.
That’s not to say that the Clippers don’t appreciate Ralph, rather that the occasion—if it was going to be promoted heavily and made out to be a special event—lacked the oomph of class that such an outstanding tenure truly deserved (especially when you consider the multiple decades of truly abysmal basketball that Ralph has had to call).
Although Ralph received a framed jersey, as Petros from the Petros and Money Show pointed out on the 3/10 broadcast, Lawler has received framed jerseys from the previous owner of the Clippers. At the very least, the Clippers could have and probably should have retired the honorary jersey Lawler received.
[Ralph Lawler] is the only Clipper who deserves to have his jersey retired. — Doc Rivers
Every fan in attendance also received a commemorative shirt with Lawlerisms printed on the front and back.
He’s the Tommy Hinesohn (Celtics broadcaster) of the Clippers. When you have a guy that’s been in the organization his whole career and has given his life to an organization, you should pay him respects.
Regardless of how the event turned out, congratulations to Ralph Lawler: an outstanding personality in LA Sports and the NBA at large. May destiny favor the future for a broadcaster who has professionally kept afloat despite the many decades without true success by the team he covers so passionately.
Hopefully in the near future he’ll get the best tribute of all: to be able to make his iconic bingos, oh me oh my, and the lob, the jam! calls in an NBA finals series for the Clippers.
— Los Angeles Clippers (@LAClippers) March 10, 2015