The other day at Lakeside Golf Course at Toluca Lake, I ran into Tommy Hawkins, a long-time local broadcaster who also worked for years in community affairs with the Los Angeles Dodgers at the Southern California Sportscasters Association luncheon.
“I broke Doug in,” he told Lisa Bowman, a broadcaster that is former.
“You did?” she reacted.
“Just ask him,” responded Hawkins.
We nodded by having an amused smiled.
“How’d you break him in?” Bowman wondered.
“Introduced him around. . . revealed him the ropes,” related Hawkins. “Assured him that Wilt (Chamberlain) wouldn’t bite their mind off. . .”
I nodded once again, and started taking into consideration the 1968-69 NBA season by which I happened to be a wide-eyed, naive, energetic, young reporter assigned to cover a Laker group that not only had Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor and Jerry western, but less popular players like Mel Counts, Johnny Egan, Keith Erickson, Billy Hewitt, Freddie Crawford and, needless to say, Tommy Hawkins.
At that time, Hawkins had been a 32-year-old, 6-foot-5 reserve ahead away from Notre Dame inside the tenth season within the NBA, also it would grow to be their last one.
For an excellent percentage of the normal period, I happened to be really the only journalist traveling utilizing the 11-man Laker group, and became kind of its de facto 12th guy.
Really, by mid-season I became addressed as a result because of the players, and would play cards together with them when on the road and would ride the bus with them to the arenas with them during the plane trips and be invited to have dinner.
Tommy Hawkins indeed ended up being quite accommodating, as were the Laker broadcasters, Chick Hearn and Hot Rod Hundley, an inveterate skirt-chaser on a group filled with such types.
Blessedly, I became in a position to keep an affable relationship with the volatile Chamberlain after an extremely erratic come from which he took exclusion to one thing I experienced discussed him within the L.A. Herald Examiner.
“Wilt Chamberlain was the tallest spectator in the Forum yesterday evening,” is just how I started among the my tales in evaluating Chamberlain’s listless work within a Laker loss.
Well, a short time later on, he arrived across me personally within the hallway for the Forum offices, looked down threateningly at me and stated, “Who when you look at the (bleep) do you believe you might be composing that (bleep)?”
With all the disdain that is brazen of, we pointed to my chin and stated challengingly to him, ‘Go ahead, Wilt, hit me personally. I’m broke. The money is needed by me.”
Wilt Chamberlain regarded me by having a look that is curious shook their mind, also managed a poor laugh, and wandered away.
He’d be certainly one of my closest buddies regarding the group from then on event, and I also can’t keep in mind exactly how many times that period therefore the next when rent that is we’d and drive around towns and cities like Atlanta, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Milwaukee and Boston watching the feminine scenery.
The mentor of the Laker group had been Butch van Breda Kolff, in which he and I also had a strained relationship during that period due to Chamberlain, as did VBK to my close friendship and Chamberlain.
I took Chamberlain’s part on a few disagreements that are passionate had with van Breda Kolff that We made general public, and Frank Deford even composed in a Sports Illustrated article that the Herald Examiner ended up being Chamberlain’s paper and also the L.A. circumstances had been VBK’s, that was accurate.
Nevertheless, despite our differences, van Breda Kolff never snubbed me personally, also welcoming us to possess Thanksgiving supper with all the united group in Philadelphia.
It absolutely had been so various in those full times for a newspaperman than it really is now.
The Lakers now have actually their plane that is own authors aren’t permitted to travel upon it.
Nor perform some article writers now continue the group coach to your arena, when I regularly did.
Nor do they drive the trains, when I did using the group from ny to Baltimore to Boston using one journey.
Nor do they get back because of the united group after games towards the resort, when I constantly did.
I’d scurry up to my space, lb out my tale for a typewriter, then get a cab towards the nearest Western Union office, where somebody would telex it returning to my L.A. workplace.
Chick Hearn constantly kept everyone loose with their one-liners that are sarcastic and I also usually had been the receiver of those, since had been the dour Laker trainer, Frank O’Neil.
We played lots of gin rummy games that season with Rod Hundley and Elgin Baylor, who had been a card that is skilled and whom additionally been certainly one of my senior school athletic idols.
As he happens to be, Baylor had been standoffish and guarded, but had a feeling of humor he usually kept concealed, while Jerry western had been an affable chatterbox albeit the majority of their chatter never ever caused it to be into the sporting pages.
Chamberlain had been a loner whom went his or her own means off court, and I also can’t inform you exactly how many very very early night telephone calls on off times https://mailorderbrides.us/latin-brides/ latin brides club I received from Chamberlain welcoming me personally to have supper I always readily accepted with him, which.
Chamberlain gained extensive notoriety later on in his life as he reported in a novel us who knew him well and knew his proclivity for monumental exaggeration that he had sex with 20,000 women, a claim which inspired laughter from those of.
It absolutely was a great, giddy time for me personally, and you can find countless tales I am able to inform but won’t because I’m not Jose Canseco and betray juicy tidbits that weren’t intended for general public publicity.
The group would win 55 season that is regular, also it need to have won the NBA name.
Bill Russell would walk from the Forum flooring when it comes to last time on might 5, 1969, as he would lead the Boston Celtics up to a 108-106 win over the Lakers in Game 7, once more having the better of Chamberlain, in addition to Baylor and western.
Jerry West wept later, and, sheepishly, i have to acknowledge used to do for a second, too, a new reporter caught up into the feeling of a dark minute of a group with that we had become therefore closely aligned.
Jack Kent Cooke, the Laker owner, would fire Bill van Breda Kolff a couple of days later on, and Joe Mullaney will be the mentor the season that is next I yet again chronicled the group.
The 1969-70 Lakers additionally would lose within the NBA finals in a casino game 7 towards the nyc Knicks.
But no rips arrived on the scene of my eyes following the setback.
The happy purity that suffused my soul through the past period had disappeared forever.