One of the good guys, the Los Angles Lakers official scorekeeper since the days of Wilt and West — John Radcliffe — passed away last week.
He was a fixture at Laker games, keeping score for the team since it played at the Sports Arena (before the Forum, let alone Staples), the longest continuous employee of the franchise. And a man who was friends with everyone he met and popular in the organization.
My deepest respect and condolences to all the members of the Radcliffe Family. I shared a special place next to John at the Lakers scorers table for the past 26 years. He was a consummate professional…a gentleman…and I will miss my friend.
But for thousands of students in Torrance High School, he was much more than that. He was the school’s baseball coach, as well as at times coaching track, football, volleyball and softball, plus serving as the school’s athletic director.
One of the students who was touched by Radcliffe was our own Gatinho.
As a graduate of Torrance High School, I was lucky to have Coach John Radcliffe as my athletic director. But you can imagine how cool we thought it was that he was the official scorer for the Lakers. He would frequently hand out Laker tickets to track athletes who broke personal bests or other athletes that played exceptionally well or showed outstanding sportsmanship. Every time I watched a game and there was a discussion at the scorer’s table, I would make sure to spot him.
Track and field seemed to be his love. He was constantly asking the best athletes to participate in track. To quote a friend, “He knew an athlete, and when he saw one, he asked them to run track.”
RIP John Radcliffe
BORN: May 28, 1936
DIED: September 22, 2009
He shall be missed, by the Lakers and students in Torrance alike.