Sunday, May 23, 2004


People in LA recently had the chance to hear Tommy Heinsohn broadcast. The message boards were filled with insults after. I disagreed.

Remember, Heinsohn had rings before Los Angeles even had a basketball team. No one in LA is worthy of judging him. Arrivistes...

The funny part of this is that Heinsohn was unusually restrained on that broadcast. This is a guy who has more rings than Shaq and Magic combined- and a guy who has watched his once-proud franchise sputter through the last 15 years. You should see him when we lose to the Atlanta Hawks...he's a one-man Watts riot. And if you think Heinsohn is bad, you should have seen Cousy call games before the Alzheimer's kicked in...

So he mentioned the fact that pounding on Kobe might be an effective strategy. Every coach in the league is telling his team the exact same thing. Basketball is a rough game, and an injury to an opponent is something to be taken advantage of. Be glad that you had a basketball expert to explain these things to you- it seems fans expect that silly "Yesssss" that Marv Albert used to do when Jordan scored more than actual insight into the game.

This is why you have an ex-coach on the mic- he understands how the game is actually played. Otherwise, you throw some Chick on the mic and give your fans commentary from a guy who has to guess what is going on in a huddle. Not to disparage the good name of Mr. Hearn, but he was never a player or a coach.

Speaking of which, if Johnny Most worked Lakers games, you would venerate the man. Johnny Most, who lit his own pants on fire in the middle of a broadcast. Johnny, who said "he hit the f**king post!" while doing radio commentary on a hockey game. Johnny, who once got so upset at a call that he spit his false teeth onto a spectator seated below him. The same Johnny who asked Mrs. Ruland to please turn off her radio, and who described Kurt Rambis- who seemed like a nice enough guy to me- as "something that crawled out of a sewer." All this in a voice that only Marlboros can give you.

Johnny had that gift of putting a listener right there in the game, and he was definitely a homer. Remember, Boston is a town that saw former Red Sox broadcaster Dick Stockton- with his purple and yellow ties- as a Laker shill. I was personally in a crowd that attempted to tip over Stockton's limo after the 1986 finals, and DS only escaped when Most came out of the Garden and beat the thugs away with a whiskey bottle. Johnny could have cared less about what some halfhearted Laker fan thought about his style- he was too busy calling championship games.

Still, lacking the Jello-jiggling catchphrases of men like Hearn and Albert, he may have had less success in a town that was more concerned with flash than substance.


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