LA Clippers’ longtime broadcaster Ralph Lawler retiring after 2018-19 season
“Oh me oh my!”
“First to 100 wins, it’s the law.”
As of late, even: “The Lob, the jam!”
If you watched an LA Clippers game over the last 30+ years, you’ve heard exciting these signature catchphrases from none other than broadcaster Ralph Lawler. For a franchise that has been through countless ups and downs without reaching the mountaintop, Lawler’s voice has been the constant and a staple in the Clippers community. All good things, however, must come to an end at some point.
On Wednesday afternoon, Lawler, the 39-year broadcaster, announced that the 2018-19 season would be the final one of his career.
“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. The Clippers are a big part of my life’s DNA,” said Lawler. “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. 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.”
By the end of next season, Lawler will be 81 years old and will have finished his 40th season with the Clippers organization. He joined the San Diego Clippers back in 1978 where he broadcasted for six years before moving to Los Angeles with the organization. In the City of Angels, he has called more than 3,100 games. According to Clippers PR, he is also one of the few announcers to have called games in the NFL (San Diego Chargers), MLB (Philadelphia Phillies), NHL (with the Philadelphia Flyers) and NBA (Clippers and Philadelphia 76ers).
Lawler also told the LA Times that he knew the 2018-19 season would be his final last year and planned to make the announcement on the day of the final game, but the Clippers insisted on celebrating him throughout the season.
Clippers owner Steve Ballmer released a statement about Lawler, who should be a lock to be in the Naismith Basketball Hall-of-Fame when it’s all said and done.
“Ralph Lawler isn’t just the voice of the team, he has been the heart and soul of the Clippers,” said Clippers Chairman Steve Ballmer. “Ralph has lived every single moment with this team and been an essential connection between us and our fans, who rightfully adore him. We will treasure every moment with Ralph and his wife Jo this season, and miss him incredibly next year. 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.”
The Clippers will wrap up their 2018-19 regular season on Wednesday, April 10th against the Utah Jazz, which will also be Ralph Lawler night. In honor of his retirement, the first 10,000 fans at the game will receive Ralph Lawler bobbleheads. In addition to that, the team is expected to have special guests, ceremonies, and a celebration of Lawler’s career.