Play-by-play man Ralph Lawler, the longtime voice of the Los Angeles Clippers, announced Wednesday that he will retire after the 2018- 19 NBA season.
“My wife Jo and I have grappled with this decision annually for 15 years. I now realize that I have spent half of my 80 years as a part of this team,” Lawler said. “The Clippers are a big part of my life’s DNA. Yet, it is important that we have some `life after basketball.’
“The current ownership and management team has been so supportive, and we are forever grateful for our years with the Clippers,” Lawler continued. “I cannot express how much I appreciate the fans. I am looking forward to thanking as many of them as possible in person during this final season.”
Lawler joined the Clippers in 1978 when they moved to San Diego from Buffalo, New York, where they were known as the Braves. Since then he has called more than 3,100 games, according to the team.
When the Clippers moved to Los Angeles in 1984, Lawler remained in San Diego, managing a real estate office, but returned to the Clippers in 1985.
“I liked San Diego and was really settled there,” Lawler told the Los Angeles Times in a 1990 interview.
Lawler’s first announcing position with a professional team came with the San Diego Chargers in the early 1970s. He then moved to Philadelphia, where he was an announcer with the Phillies, 76ers and Flyers. He has also announced college basketball, golf, tennis, track and field, auto racing, boxing, college football and indoor lacrosse.
Lawler is known for his enthusiasm and such expressions as “Bingo!” “Fasten your seatbelts” and “Oh me, oh my,” along with “Lawler’s Law,” which says the team reaching 100 points first will win.
“Ralph Lawler isn’t just the voice of the team, he has been the heart and soul of the Clippers,” team Chairman Steve Ballmer said. “…I’m looking forward to celebrating Ralph and his legacy, and want to sincerely thank him for everything that he has done for and meant to this team. His will be large shoes to fill.”
Lawler has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, three Emmys, a Telly Award and has been inducted into the Southern California Sports Broadcasters Hall of Fame and the California Sports Hall of Fame.
— City News Service