My earliest memories of the Lakers, were not surprisingly about one particular player, but rather of one Francis Dayle Hearn. We knew him best as Chick. I personally loved the nick name "Chicky Baby!" People saw Chick, and thats how they repsonded, with unabashed, child-like excitement. Chicky!
I must have been in 3rd or fourth grade when my child-hood best friend growing up, Todd and I put slinkys over our heads and pretended we were Chick and Stu wearing headphones. And thus began my Laker life. A strong foundation was built.
Chick Hearn was the essence of the Los Angeles Lakers. The brilliance, the excellence, the showmanship, and the "every-manness" of Chick. Chick was so approachable. You felt like you knew the guy! You felt like he was your favorite old uncle!
Till this day, I still use chick-isms in my personal life. I love phrases like:
"It's a comedy of errors!"
"The mustard came off the hot dog!"
"This game's in the refrigerator: the door is closed, the lights are out, the eggs are cooling, the butter's getting hard, and the Jell-O's jigglin'!" - HOWS THAT FOR AN ENDING TO A GAME?!
Chick was definitely the patriarch of the Los Angeles Lakers. I shudder to think what Chick Hearn's opinion of Kobe Bryant and the Lakers today would be. I hate to say it, but it might be one of shame. Did anyone else ever notice that when Chick passed, the Lakers just went down hill, and perhaps, sour?
I remember the day when chick died. My mom came home from work and walked into the kitchen and told me "Chick died." My mom, being the loyal Laker fan that she is, always used to listen to Lakers Live and the games on her way home from work. So she managed to somehow always know news before I did. I definitely remember it like an emotional shot. I think I even shed a tear. I knew it was the end of an era, but the continuation of a life-long LEGEND.
We can only hope Chick is watching over the Lakers and Lakerdom.
Come on, Lakers! Lets make Chicky Baby proud!