Let me start by saying congratulations to Brian Sieman. He recently signed on to be the new Clippers play-by-play television announcer. Sieman has been doing play-by-play on radio for the Clippers broadcasts since 2007 and is well deserving of the position formally held by Ralph Lawler. Don’t believe me? Then take it directly from Lawler himself.
I could not ne happier! He was my First and Only choice. It makes me much more comfortable in retirement knowing my old job is in Brian’s more than capable hands. Congrats @bsieman ! Congrats Clipper Nation! https://t.co/EQewuad05b
— Ralph Lawler (@Ohmeomy) July 16, 2019
As the franchise gets ready for what is sure to be the most exciting season in their history thanks to an impressive trade and several key free agent signings it’s hard to believe the 2019-20 season will be the first in the last 40 years without Ralph Lawler. Let thank sink in for just a minute, 40 years.
For many Clippers fans Lawler has been the only voice to ever call a game. For several years, well decades, he was, by far, the most entertaining part of watching a Clippers game. In Los Angeles we are used to incredible announcers. LA was home to Vin Scully, Chick Hearn and Bob Miller. Each were Hall of Fame announcers for their respective clubs. Lawler, also a member of the Hall of Fame, matched them all.
So as we wait out the start of what promises to be the best season of Clippers basketball ever lets take a minute to appreciate Ralph Lawler. His dedication to the job was remarkable. It’s one thing to do something for as long as he did, its quite another to do it so well. While I do see the need for Sieman to carve out his own niche, I think it would be nice to keep some of Ralphs “Lawlerisms”.
I mean, when any team scores 100 we are all going to think “…its the law!” So, whats the harm in Sieman saying it? To this day, as I watch the Lakers win games I mentally put that game in the refrigerator, a la Chick Hearn. If you are fortunate enough to have heard Hearn call a game, you do the same thing.
Ralph Lawler provided consistency for a franchise that needed it. He provided excellence for a franchise devoid of any for a very long time. He gave fans a reason to follow a team that was, for a long time, hard to root for. He was the face of the franchise in Los Angeles. He was more than an announcer.
Because of all that and more it’s Lawlers name that should be on the first Clippers jersey to hang in the rafters.
Lawler, from all indications is a humble man who would likely scoff at the idea. It’s true that Clippers players deserve the same honor and hopefully we will begin to see jerseys in the rafters soon. But the honor of being first should go to the person who has given the most time to the franchise. The person who excelled under difficult circumstances. Who stayed positive in the midst of great negativity.
He never hit a game winning shot. In fact, he never made a bucket. His career totals are 0 rebounds, 0 assists, and his defense was atrocious. But what Ralph Lawler provided goes beyond stats. He made it OK to be a fan. He made it fun to be a fan, not just of the Clippers, but of basketball.
The Clippers franchise under Steve Ballmer have made incredible strides. The front office is amongst the best in the Association. As is the coach and team. Lawler too was the best at what he did.
Now it’s time for Ballmer to do right by him and raise his jersey to the rafters. It’s the law!
Jose has written for Bleacher Report, Clipperholics, OC Weekly and wrote a series of articles covering the 2010 NBA Finals for the LA Times. He lives in Southern California and is excited to watch thePeachBasket grow!