Editor's Note: Legendary Lakers broadcaster Chick Hearn died late Monday. ESPN basketball analyst Dick Vitale filed this column early Monday.
Like many basketball lovers, I was absolutely heartbroken to hear the news of Chick Hearn's recent fall. It is a sad time for Lakers fans and followers of Hearn, who has called thousands and thousands of games for his favorite team.
What makes Chick so special is his unbelievable passion. His enthusiasm and excitement make each broadcast special. Every possession is like the most important one in the world, baby!
|Chick Hearn had broadcast 3,338 consecutive games before undergoing heart-valve replacement last December.|
With that comes his spirit. He is one of my heroes. Broadcasters who go on and on, year after year, demonstrating great enthusiasm for the job they are doing -- they are my kind of people! Names like Hearn, an icon in broadcasting for all he has accomplished with the Lakers; Ernie Harwell, in his final season with the Detroit Tigers; Jim McKay, still going strong on national TV; Keith Jackson, one of my former partners ... Whoa Nellie!
The one thing that makes them oh-so-special is that they're all young kids at heart. They're involved in games that they love, and it comes through and translates through their broadcasts. You can feel their excitement and spirit.
Our prayers go out to Chick for a miraculous recovery. The reports from the doctors in Los Angeles are not optimistic, but we all know that miracles do happen. We're praying for one.
It's sad to know that Chick probably won't get a last chance to share his words on a broadcast. He has had such a special relationship with Los Angeles. If you ever heard him call a game, you know about his feelings for the Lakers. He's had the chance to do something he loved.
If I can share one thing with the fans out there -- and it's something I often talk about when I give speeches across America -- it's this: attack everything you do with passion and enthusiasm. When you do, you will truly enjoy it, just like Chick, Ernie, Keith and Jim. They have played a part in my passion for life.