Longtime Clippers fan and season ticket holder Billy Crystal will join the legendary Voice of the Clippers Ralph Lawler to call the team’s January 31 game against the Lakers on Fox Sports Prime Ticket. Lawler, in his 40th season with the team, will retire at the end of the season and familiar faces from the Clippers’ past and present are paying tribute to him by joining him to provide game commentary throughout the season. Current Nets analyst Mike Fratello will join Lawler on January 23 in Miami and Basketball Hall of Famer Hubie Brown will add commentary for the Clippers’ March 24 game against the New York Knicks.
“It’ll be a blast to call a Clippers game alongside Billy Crystal,” said Lawler. “We’ve spent a lot of time talking Clippers basketball over the years, but having him join me on the call will be a whole new experience. I still can’t believe it’s my final season, and to be recognized by a great, longtime Clippers fan like Billy is an honor. I hope he’s been studying his Lawler’s Law books.”
Crystal has been a Clippers season ticket holder since 1985 and identifies with the hard-working, gritty identity of the franchise. He is a Tony and Emmy Award winning comedian, actor, producer, writer and director and is known to audiences around the world as the star of such feature films as When Harry Met Sally…, City Slickers and Analyze This; as a cast member of NBC’s Saturday Night Live; and as the acclaimed nine-time host of the Academy Awards®. Crystal has also hosted the Grammy Awards three times and earned five Emmy’s for his work as host, writer and producer on both award shows. Crystal won his sixth Emmy for the HBO Comedy Special “Midnight Train to Moscow.” Crystal was the 2007 recipient of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor and is a NY Times best-selling author of five books, two of which were for children. In 2004, Crystal made his Broadway debut with the original production of his one-man show 700 Sundays, for which he won a Tony Award. The Broadway production was taped in front of a live audience for an HBO special that aired in April of 2014, and garnered four Emmy Nominations.
“Ralph is a fantastic broadcaster and a wonderful man,” said Crystal. “I’m looking forward to calling a game with him. He’s a Hall of Famer in my book.”
Fratello began his broadcasting career with the Clippers as a color analyst from 1990-92 and currently delivers analysis for Brooklyn Nets games on the YES Network. Prior to his career behind the mic, Fratello spent 16 seasons in the NBA as a head coach and ranks 19th on the league’s all-time win list and 21st in games coached.
Brown is a current basketball analyst for ESPN and has called countless Clippers games and 14 NBA Finals across his radio and television career. He has won various accolades both as a coach and commentator, including two NBA Coach of the Year awards (1978, 2004) and the Curt Gowdy Media Award (2000), and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (2005).
Dates for other guest analysts, who will include Bill Walton, will be announced later in the season.
The impact that Lawler has had on the Clippers organization and the broadcasting community across his four decades with the team is immeasurable. He has distinguished himself as one of the broadcasting industry’s elite, broadcasting games in each of the four major U.S. sports leagues, and has called more than 3,140 Clippers games in 91 cities and six countries. Lawler’s career is longer than the lifetimes of eight NBA franchises and he has been the Voice of the Clippers through seven U.S. Presidents and three NBA Commissioners. His signature Lawlerisms, including “Bingo!,” “Oh me, oh my!,” “The lob, the jam!” and Lawler’s Law have become familiar catchphrases in households across the country.
The Clippers will cap off their celebration of Lawler’s final season by hosting Ralph Lawler Night at Staples Center on Wednesday, April 10 at 7:30 p.m. vs. the Utah Jazz, the last game of the regular season. The first 10,000 fans at the game will receive Ralph Lawler bobbleheads and the evening will feature special guests, ceremonies and a celebration of Lawler’s career. Fans can visit the Instagram page honoring Lawler (@Ralph) to reflect on his storied career and share their favorite Lawler memories using the hashtag #ThankYouRalph.