Chick Hearn

Francis Dayle Hearn (1915 - 2002), pro basketball announcer for the Los Angeles Lakers, better known by the moniker Chick Hearn, is famous for coining the terms "Slam dunk," "air ball," "no harm, no foul," and for broadcasting 3,338 consecutive Lakers games starting in 1965.

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, 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. He died August 5, 2002 at the age of 86. He was survived by Marge Hearn, his wife of 60 years.

Chick-isms

  • "Air-ball": A shot that draws nothing but air.
  • "Bloooows the layup! ": Missed a very easy layup.
  • "Boo-birds": Fans who boo their own team when they play badly.
  • (You could) "Call it with Braille": An easy call for an official, e.g. a blatant foul.
  • (He did the) "Bunny hop in the pea patch": He was called for traveling.
  • (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. Tyronn Lue.
  • (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.
  • "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.
  • (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 & 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.
  • "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.
  • "No harm, no foul": A non-call by an official when insignificant contact has occurred.
  • "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's jiggling!": When the Lakers were beating their opponent so badly that the game was basically over.
  • "Slaaam dunk!"
  • "Throws up a brick": When a player tosses up a particularly errant shot.
  • "Throws up a prayer": A wild shot that will need a miracle to score.
  • "Ticky-tack": A foul called when very little contact has been made.
  • "Triple-double": A player gets more than 9 of 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.

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