One of my favorite parts of the old Lakers’ telecasts on KCAL Channel 9 was Chick Hearn interviewing players from the Lakers and the opposing team. The interviews would often air during the pre-game or halftime show and would always give some insight or an anecdote that you likely weren’t going to get from anywhere else. Credit Chick who, along with his brilliance as the game’s best play by play man, was also as personable and pleasant as could be when chatting with the players.
This video, however, is one that I’d never seen. After starting his first career game the night before — a game in which he’d scored 12 points on 5-11 shooting — Chick sat down with rookie Kobe Bryant for a chat:
Some good stuff in this clip, but the thing that stands out is Kobe’s youth and, even at only 18 years old, the charisma and charm that, along with his prodigious talent, made him one of the league’s most popular players very early in his career. This clip also brings out a fair amount of nostalgia. This was before Phil Jackson, before the heartbreaking playoff losses, before the championships, and before the feuds that saw it all end. This was just the beginning.
With Kobe’s career nearing its end, it really is something to see him so young, so long ago, as a bright eyed rookie. In a way it makes me sad. It also makes me feel extremely grateful that nearly 18 years later he is still wearing the purple and gold. Oh, an by the way, that night against the Spurs on the 2nd night of a back to back, Kobe started his second straight game and scored 19 points on 6-12 shooting to help the Lakers win their 5th straight game.
(H/T to Andy Kamenetzky and Jon Weisman for the clip)
Still going strong after 19 years..
I couldn’t help but smile when they started talking about Magic and West. 18 years later and now he’s on the same pedestal as them.
Greatest announcer ever, with the greatest Laker ever!
@ Jayz: of the guys I personally watched as Lakers, : Magic, Kareem, West, then Kobe, Shaq, Baylor & Wilt.
I’m more of the mind of BigCitySid in terms of all time Laker greats. I don’t have any experience watching some of the really old guys though beyond classic re-runs. Honestly, IF Shaq would have just hit 70% from the free throw line I would put him slightly above Kobe. I enjoyed watching Magic play far more than Kobe and I watch this for entertainment so I give Magic the edge as my favorite Laker of all time. Plus Magic made his teammates better, whereas Kobe is certainly up and down in this regard. I think overall Kobe is great at what he does, but he is currently in the down period for making the team better. Until Kobe shoots a higher % or equal than his teammates that “can’t make a shot” as some propose then the point is invalid. He isn’t making the team better, and I for one argue they wouldn’t be worse if he shot averaged 20 shots and 28-30mins. Clearly his defense is not too good anymore and shooting 37% and killing team chemistry (which I believe is happening lately) is not good.
I know all the Kobe jock-strap huggers just want to always call his teammates trash and say he has to shoot a million shots. Despite Math suggesting his crappy teammates are still shooting better than him, well except for Ronnie Price.
Craig W. says
As Lakers it was West and Magic at the top – I can’t separate Jerry’s success as GM from his fantastic playing days – then Kareem and Kobe. However, I watched Wilt throughout his entire career and there has never been a more dominant player. Shaq could have been that man, but he needed to be more dedicated. Kareem simply continued to absolutely kill you, year after year, but he was mentally dominant and not as physically dominant as Wilt was. Like Kobe, Wilt could focus on a part of his game and simply destroy an opponent in that area – whatever it was.
craig hill says
“With Kobe’s career nearing it’s end”…
No apostrophe there, Darius. That’s the equivlent of saying “Kobe’s cateer nearing it is end” which makes no sense, which how you know when not to use an apostrophe.. If you’re gonna type for a living, learn more English, it makes you look bad and lowers the quality of what we read. Less amateurish sloppiiness, please.
thank you, thank you, thank you – i sure as heck needed this shot in the arm!
Dagnabit, I still miss Chick like nobody´s business
If the Lakers and Kobe are really going to stay together for the duration of his two year contract it seems to me that there are some realities that need to be accepted and as a result changes made on the court.
– This year is lost. There’s not enough talent to compete.
– Since this year is lost the Lakers and Kobe should focus on the players that have a good chance to get better and be part of (hopefully) something better next season. The Lakers should be playing Davis and Clarkson more minutes. If the Lakers are going to send Kobe out a winner we’ll need to develop the young players so they can pull more weight next season.
By the way: Lance Stephenson is under performing in Charlotte. I know that some of you were very much in favor of signing him this past off season. Does anyone think that the Hornets may make him available?
T. Rogers says
Chick was the greatest. I still can’t believe he’s gone and its been over a decade. As a kid I always knew the Lakers were on in my house because I knew Chick’s voice. I miss hearing his magic over the airwaves.
One the one hand this gave me a boost of nostalgia. On the other hand it reminded me just how much this team has lost over the last decade or so. The Lakers will rise again. It may be awhile. But they will be back.
You hit the nail right on the head T. Rogers! I could not have said it better. My sentiments exactly. God I miss Chick.
Regarding your comments, Trip, I think its coming. The Lakers can’t have another year, like these past two, next season.
Out of respect for the veterans, Byron gave Boozer, Hill and Lin a lot of floor time out of the gate. In normal circumstances it makes sense to bring your kids along slowly. However, it would appear that the Lakers are experiencing circumstances far from normal. I think at some point Davis and Clarkson will be starters.
Another perspective, if the FO chooses it, is to allow Hill and Lin to get enough minutes to pad their statistics. This may make them attractive targets at the trade deadline. Although, this season has exposed their weaknesses and may have deflated their value (Hill is not a front line starter – at least not as a center and Lin is not a starting PG).
If deals are made, I assume the return will be picks as opposed to talent, so by default Davis and Clarkson would see more floor time.
Darius Soriano says
Hahaha! Craig Hill with the ultimate correction! You get the gold star for most prick-ish comment of the week. And it’s only Tuesday. Congrats.
The Lakers games were so much more alive and colorful with Chicky’s voice in the background. We will get more great players in the future, possibly even better athletes than Kobe, Shaq, Pau, Magic, Worthy….. But we will never find another great announcer like Chick. He is truly one of a kind. At a time like now, when Lakers fans are looking for anything to give themselves a reason, a grip on the fandom, the voice of Chicky surely summons the true spirit of purple and gold.
I wonder what Chicky would say if he had to announce some of this years games? One of my favorite Chickism was one when the Lakers were getting trounced by the hated Celtics and he said, “Jesus and the 12 Disciples could not help the Lakers tonight”. Classic stuff.
Craig Hill, you wrote “which how you know when not to use an apostrophe” but you left out the word “is” in between which & how. If you are going to comment on grammatical errors make sure you dot your i’s and cross your t’s.
bryan S. says
Darius you beat me to it! But I beg to differ: Craig Hill’s comment could be in the top five for the year.
lil pau says
I believe there were supposed to be spaces between all of the individuals ‘ha’s’.
So IF we don’t win tonight vs. Hawks we are going to be waiting awhile for our next win. I don’t think Houston is nearly as good as their record, but us playing off a back-to-back I would say gives us little chance. I think the Mavs will likely blow us out. Mavs offense looks really really good this year and we match up horrible against them. Who is going to check Dirk? Boozer LOL. Parsons is tough and you can’t leave him wide open for 3’s (seems like our defensive strategy thus far is to allow teams to shoot 3’s at will and get into the paint at will).
Lin (if he shoots) can eat up Teague, but Atlanta can definitely make life tough for Kobe–even if he gets pickier with his shot selection. I’m just excited to watch Young, to be honest he’s probably my favorite player on the Lakers at this point. I like his attitude and as long as he hustles on D as well–he is a decent fun player to watch.
Lil pau says
You’re right, Darius– watching Kobe in this clip with a knowledge of all that will happen subsequently is like that final season episode of breaking bad which begins with the flashback of Walt and Jesse cooking for the first time or going to a wedding and seeing pictures of the bride as a small child. A strange commingling of nostalgia, gratitude and sadness.
agree: 11/23 vs Denver is my next possible win. I do not really have tonight’s game in that category.
Chick: Certainly agree with everyone’s positive comments. How spoiled were we? At one point we had Jerry Buss (greatest owner of all time – all sports), Jerry West – Greatest Executive of all time, Phil Jackson – Greatest coach of All Time, Chick – Greatest Announcer of All Time, Shaq + Kobe (two of the greatest of all time). Now we just have Kobe. The downgrades in all other areas are enormous, with Mitch having the smallest gap with his predecessor and that gap is still huge.
“That’s the equivlent of saying “Kobe’s cateer nearing it is end” which makes no sense,”
Two misspellings in one sentence and you are criticizing writing quality?
Next time just say “thanks for posting that video”.
I recall that video vividly, I watched that interview.
Don’t get me started on how much I miss Chick Hearn!!!! He had an eye for talent.
He was also outspoken in regards to the team and their play he even criticized the superstars.
CHearn, in honor of Chick Hearn.
Great video, for all the reasons mentioned above. Thanks Darius!
Chick was great. Easy to see that he was a real, genuine fan of the game and the Lakers. Not just clocking in.