Leave it to Doc Rivers to get in a fun dig at longtime Clippers voice Ralph Lawler, who Thursday received the 2,575th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Rivers, head coach and president of basketball operations, said he was impressed with a lot of things about Lawler, who has been calling Clippers games on radio and/or television for 37 years. Rivers called him “a great broadcaster, he’s a great husband and he’s a great man.”
“He really cares about the team,” said Rivers, who preceded Lawler on the dais at 1708 Vine St. near Taps Sports Bar. “I did TV for a little while and after the games, I just wanted know what restaurant we were going to. I (couldn’t) care less about who won or lost. When Ralph gets on the plane after a loss, you can see it on his face, like a coach.
“When he gets on the plane after a win – I know, Ralph, that you sneak on the beverages in the back, don’t worry, we’ll allow it just for you – and the fact that he cares, means a lot to us. He represents what the Clippers are all about.”
Lawler, whose phrases “Bingo” and “Oh me oh my” are staples of his broadcasting vernacular, was over the moon. He spoke about what the star means to him.
“Let me start with the fact that this is not just an affirmation of my career,” said Lawler, 78. “It’s an acknowledgement of the acceptance that the Clippers have gotten in the community. This would have been impossible 10 or even five years ago.
“But all of a sudden, since Steve Ballmer brought the basketball team, they bring Doc in as president of basketball operations, Gillian (Zucker) as president of business operations, everything has changed. I can’t tell you how different it is and now the city can finally, without any fear of any problems, embrace our basketball team. And that’s a really a happy time for me.”
Lawler then got a combination of laughs and cheers out of the crowd.
“People say it’s long overdue, I’m not sure it’s even due,” he said. “People say, ‘You deserve it.’ I’m not sure I deserve it, but I’ll sure take it folks. This is a thrill.”
Lawler’s wife, their three children and six of their seven grandchildren were on hand. As were current Clippers point guard Chris Paul and several former Clippers.
Here’s a short video from the event: