Chick Hearn

From Academic Kids

Francis Dayle "Chick" Hearn (27 November 1916 - 5 August 2002) was an American sportscaster. Known primarily as the longtime play-by-play announcer for the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association, Hearn is remembered for coining the phrases "slam dunk", "air ball", and "no harm, no foul"; and for broadcasting 3,338 consecutive Lakers games starting in 1965. Of note is that most of the games in the television era were simulcast on both radio and television, even after most teams chose to use different announcers for the different media.

Hearn grew up in Aurora, Illinois near Chicago and attended Bradley University where he earned the nickname "Chick" while an AAU basketball player. One day he was given what appeared to be a shoe box but instead contained a dead chicken.

On May 9, 1991 Hearn became the third broadcaster to be inducted into Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts. In 1995 he was voted to be the twentieth member of the American Sportscaster Hall of Fame by his fellow sportscasters.

Hearn's streak of 3,338 consecutive Lakers games came to an end midway through the 2001-02 season when he underwent cardiac bypass surgery. Hearn recovered from his illness and resumed broadcasting that season, receiving a standing ovation fron the Staples Center crowd upon his return, and in June 2002 he was master of ceremonies before a crowd of over 100,000 as the Lakers celebrated their third consecutive NBA championship. But, during the summer, Hearn suffered a stroke at his Encino, California home; he fell and was injured.

Chick Hearn died on August 5, 2002 at the age of 85 and was interred in the Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California. He was survived by Marge Hearn, his wife of 60 years.

In honor of his contributions to the Los Angeles Lakers, both the Lakers and the city of Los Angeles renamed a portion of West 11th Street between Figueroa Street and Georgia Street to Chick Hearn Way. This street currently runs alongside Staples Center's main entrance.


  • Air-ball: A shot that draws nothing but air.
  • (He sent that one back) Air-mail Special!: Forceful blocked shot, often sent high into the stands.
  • Bloooows the layup! : Missed a very easy layup.
  • Boo-birds: Fans who boo their own team when they play badly.
  • (He did the) bunny hop in the pea patch: He was called for traveling.
  • (You could) call it with Braille: An easy call for an official, e.g. a blatant foul.
  • (He got) caught with his hand in the cookie jar: Reaching foul.
  • (The) Charity Stripe: The free-throw line.
  • (He's got 'em) covered like the rug on your floor: Really good one-on-one defense, e.g. Scottie Pippen.
  • (They) couldn't beat the Sisters of Mercy: The team is getting beat badly.
  • (They) couldn't throw a pea into the ocean: The team's shooting is really awful.
  • (It'll) count if it goes....: A player (e.g. Robert Horry) shoots just before the buzzer.
  • (That shot) didn't draw iron: A shot which misses the rim, but hits the backboard.
  • Dime store score: A 10 to 5 score
  • Dribble-drive: A player drives the basket while dribbling.
  • Finger roll: A shot where the ball rolls off the shooter's fingers.
  • (He) fly-swatted (that one).: A shot blocked with force and authority (e.g. Hakeem Olajuwon).
  • Football score: A score resembling one often seen in a football game (e.g., 21 to 14).
  • (He threw up a) frozen rope: A shot with a very flat trajectory.
  • (It's) garbage time: The remainder of the game (after it's in the refrigerator).
  • (In & out,) Heart-brrrreak!: A shot that appears to go in, but rattles off the rim and misses. Sometimes it went in so far you could read the Commissioner's name from below.
  • He has two chances, slim and none, and slim just left the building: The player has no chance of success with this play.
  • If that goes in, I'm walking home: Similar to a prayer, when the opponent shoots a shot that is a prayer, a streak, or some amazing shot. (Usually on the road)
  • (There are) lots of referees in the building, only three getting paid: The entire crowd acts as though they are the officials by disagreeing with a call.
  • The mustard's off the hot dog: A player attempts an unnecessarily showy, flashy play which ends up in a turnover or is otherwise unsuccessful.
  • Nervous time: When the final moments of a game are pressure-packed.
  • 94-by-50 hunk of wood: Simply put, a basketball court's dimensions.
    • Attacking 47 feet: The front court.
  • No harm, no foul(no blood, no ambulance, no stitches): A non-call by an official when insignificant contact has occurred.
  • Not Phi Beta Kappa: Simply put, not a smart play.
  • ...Since Hector was a pup A very long time (e.g., The Lakers haven't had the lead since Hector was a pup.)
  • (He's) On him like a postage stamp: Very tight defense, simply put.
  • Slaaam dunk!: Called for various players who have just dunked the ball (e.g. Michael Jordan and Shaquille O'Neal).
  • (He) Takes him to the third floor and leaves him at the mezzanine.: The offensive player pump faked the defender,(who leaps to block the shot) and the player with the ball either goes up while the defender is coming down and/or draws the foul and hits the shot.
  • This game's in the refrigerator; the door's closed, the lights are out, the eggs are cooling, the butter's getting hard, and the Jello is jiggling!: The game's outcome is set; only the final score is in question.
  • Throws up a brick: When a player tosses up a particularly errant shot.
  • Throws up a prayer (... it's answered!!!): A wild shot that will need a miracle to score (and does).
  • Ticky-tack: A foul called when very little contact has been made.
  • Triple-double: A player gets 10 or more (i.e. double digits) in three statistical categories: points, rebounds, assists, steals or blocked shots.
  • (On his) Wallet: A player fell on his rear end.
  • Words-eye view: What listeners received while listening to Chick call the game on the radio.
  • (He's) Working on his Wrigleys. A player is chewing gum.

Nicknames for Laker players

External links


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