James Worthy at HOF CeremonyFormer Laker forward James Worthy and legendary Laker broadcaster Chick Hearn were among the seven inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame on Friday night, September 5th, in Springfield, MA.

Worthy, who spent all 12 of his seasons (1982-1994) with the Lakers, was an integral part of the “Showtime” Lakers who dominated the NBA in the 80’s. He won titles with the team in 1985, 1987, and 1988. Although, he often played second fiddle to Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on those great teams, Worthy was the model of consistency, averaging 17.6 points for his career, and thrilled fans with his fast-break slam dunks and his amazingly quick turn-around baseline jump shot.

Worthy was famous for his ability to come up big in important games, like Game 7 of the 1988 NBA Finals, when he scored 36 points, grabbed 16 rebounds, and dished out 10 assists as the Lakers captured back-to-back titles that season by beating the Detroit Pistons 102-100. Worthy was named the series’ MVP, and games like that helped him earn the nickname, “Big Game” James.

The man who gave him that nickname, Francis Dale “Chick” Hearn, was the team’s first and only play-by-play announcer after the franchise moved to Los Angeles in 1960. Chick called an amazing 3,338 consecutive games from November 21, 1965-December 16, 2001, and was at the mic for all of the team’s nine championships in Los Angeles.

He missed a large chunk of the 2001-02 season due to heart and hip problems, but “Golden Throat” returned to the mic just in time to call the Lakers third consecutive title over the New Jersey Nets in 2002. Hearn died on August 5, 2002 at age 85, after sustaining head injuries from a fall at his home.

Hearn’s rapid-fire approach to calling games was unparalelled by any sports broadcaster, and he is widely credited with coining the phrases such as “slam dunk” and “air ball,” and is famous for his Chick-isms such as “the mustard’s off the hotdog,” faking players “in the popcorn machine,” and putting ballgames “in the refrigerator.”

Others enshrined at Springfield included, former Celtics star center Robert Parish, Harlem Globetrotters star Meadowlark Lemon, Earl Lloyd, who broke the NBA color barrier, and former Louisiana State women’s basketball coach Leon Barmore.

Media Link:Yahoo! – “Worthy, Parish enter shrine”
Link: NBA.com History – Hall of Fame 2003