Ralph Lawler’s nearly 40 years as the voice of the Clippers have not been easy. During his tenure as the play-by-play man for Los Angeles’ “other” NBA franchise, Lawler has seen 18 coaches, 337 players, and 1,852 lost games. And yet, he remains as chipper as his first day on the job.
"A broadcast is a lot more challenging when a team loses by a lot," Lawler told the Times in 1990. "I've often felt the best job I've done is when we've lost by 30 points. That's a real challenge. A close game is simple because all the drama is there, and you don't have to create it yourself."
After beginning his career in Riverside, Lawler's first job announcing for a professional team came with the San Diego Chargers in the early 1970s. From there, it was on to Philadelphia, where his assignments included calling games for the Phillies, 76ers and Flyers. He is one of only a handful of announcers to have broadcast all four major professional team sports.
In 1978, Lawler joined the Clippers when they moved to San Diego and came with them to Los Angeles six years later.
Known for his catchphrases “Bingo!” and “Oh me, oh my!,” Lawler has entertained audiences for decades despite the team’s enduring losing record. However, the veteran broadcaster still calls it like he sees it – no matter how critical he has to be.
"There is no reason for me to not tell the truth or try to hide the truth," Lawler says. "I love covering this team, but the idea of covering it means telling the fans the truth. If the truth isn't positive, it's not my job to make it positive."