Rod Hundley had a unique style on the basketball court, earning the nickname "Hot Rod" at West Virginia University for such maneuvers as shooting from his knees or behind his back or from the tip of one finger. He was also a great player -- he and Jerry West are the only two former Mountaineers to have their jerseys retired.
Years later, Hundley became a great radio and television broadcaster as well -- but he was the first to admit his style was not so unique. He told the West Virginia student publication, the Daily Athenaeum, that his on-air technique was heavily influenced by legendary Lakers radio broadcaster Chick Hearn.
"I learned more from him in two years than I would have if I'd went to school," said Hundley, who broke into broadcasting as Hearn's color commentator for Lakers games from 1967-69.
"Chick told me, 'I heard you've been stealing some of my lines.' [I said,] 'Not some of them, Chick. All of them.' "
Hundley was the voice of the Utah Jazz on radio and television for more than three decades and filled in as Lakers color commentator for six games in 2009. In 2003, he became the first former NBA player to be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame as a broadcaster.
He was also a solid professional player in his day. A two-time All-Star, Hundley spent all six of his years in the NBA with the Lakers, averaging 8.4 points, 3.3 rebounds and 3.4 assists. He led the team in assists and assists per game in 1959-60 and ranked in the league’' top 10 in both categories that season and in 1960-61. He retired in 1963 because of knee injuries.