Prior to L.A.’s Game 2 contest against Oklahoma City on Tuesday afternoon outside of STAPLES Center, a touching ceremony took place to unveil a 16′, 5,000 lb. bronze and steel sculpture of Hall of Fame Broadcaster Chick Hearn, the legendary voice of the Lakers from 1961-2002.
Before the statue, created by renowned sculptor and artist Omri Amrany, was revealed, Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak was among those who addressed the assembled crowd.
“People who listened to Chick can walk by, touch the statue and remember Chick and his contributions to the Los Angeles Lakers,” said Kupchak. “It’s also fitting that generations to come can walk by and although they might not know who Chick is, hopefully they’re with somebody – it could be a mother or a father – and they touch the statue and they say, ‘Dad, who was this,’ and the father says, ‘Son sit down, let me tell you about the greatest broadcaster ever.”
Kicking off and closing the ceremony was Hearn’s longtime partner and current Lakers’ analyst Stu Lantz, who shared memories of his time with Chick and honored Hearn’s wife, Marge. And while Marge Hearn was the guest of honor, several Laker legends were in attendance, including Elgin Baylor, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, James Worthy, Byron Scott, Rick Fox and Norm Nixon.
When the drape was dropped, a touching moment occurred as Marge Hearn was the first to sit alongside her husband’s likeness. She then expressed her pleasure at how great the statue looked, while making sure to point out the impact of Lakers Executive Vice President of Business Operations Jeanie Buss.
“She’s not getting enough credit, but Jeanie Buss – at least six or seven years ago when we were having lunch – said, ‘You know we should have a statue of Chick.’,” explained Hearn. “She’s the one who started it, she’s the one who did it with Linda Rambis’s help. They’re a great team.”
While on the podium, Big Game James detailed how much Chick Hearn helped create cohesivness within Los Angeles with his distinct call; now L.A. can collectively celebrate alongside Hearn’s likeness just by heading down to STAPLES Center.