Ralph Lawler, who retired from broadcasting as one of the all-time greats after the 2018-19 season, remains beloved by Clippers followers across the world. His longevity and talent made him as identifiable to fans as just about any player in team history. The Hall of Famer agreed to provide some personal insight into the season for The Sporting Tribune.
Here is the Nov. 7, 2022 edition of “BINGO: 3 Questions with Ralph Lawler,” our weekly question-and-answer exclusive.
1. Paul George put together his best stretch of the season over the last week, playing great two-way basketball. What makes him so special? And what is this team capable of with him playing this way without Kawhi?
He was named Western Conference Player of the Week for a reason. He is one of those players who seem to score so effortlessly. He reminds me of Alex English who led all scorers in the league in the decade of the 1980s. You would look up and be shocked to see he had scored 30 points in a game. Paul George is like that. He can certainly lead the Clippers into the Playoffs. However, to be a true title contender, I think the team needs a healthy Kawhi Leonard and the very best play of John Wall.
2. Do you recall the 2010 draft? How close were the Clippers to selecting George at No. 8 instead of Al-Farouq Aminu? How would that have changed the fortunes of the Clippers pre-Chris Paul?
Interestingly, Wall was the No. 1 overall pick that year by Washington. It is informative to remember how unsettled the Clippers were going into that 2010 draft. Kim Hughes had taken over for Mike Dunleavy as interim coach midway through the 2009-10 season. He was still on board for the draft, but was a lame duck. Vinny Del Negro was a couple of weeks away from being named head coach. General Manager Neil Olshey was truly a one-man gang in making the draft choice.
I can tell you that then owner Donald Sterling liked players who had competed at a major college. History shows us they took Reggie Williams of Georgetown in 1987 rather than Scottie Pippen of Central Arkansas. Same deal 2010. The Clippers took Al-Farouq-Aminu from Wake Forest rather than George from Fresno State. To be fair, the Clippers were one of nine teams to pass on Paul George. It might have been different had he gone to UCLA. In hindsight, you would pick him No. 1 if you were to re-do the 2010 draft today. The choices are so much easier a dozen years after the fact.
3. You have a Memoir coming out this week: “Bingo! 40 years in the NBA”. Can you share a little about what inspired you to write it? What can readers expect?
It is part memoir, part history book and part story about how dramatically life choices and fate impact a person’s life. As my career moved on, I felt that I had a book in me. I was not sure what it was and certainly not sure how to get it out. I was fortunate to find a publisher in Santa Monica Press that believed in my story and was willing to guide this novice writer along the road to a book that was much different from my original vision.
Clipper fans will find many behind-the-scenes stories about the team and the players they loved. Basketball fans will learn more about the history of the sport as well as its greatest players and greatest teams. Sports fans will relate to my 60 years as a broadcaster in baseball, football, basketball, hockey, auto racing, boxing and everybody’s favorite, Pro Box LaCrosse. It is an easy and, I hope, enjoyable read.
Do you have any promotional events coming up for it?
Nov. 17: Book signing at the main Library in San Diego. 7-9 p.m. with Bill Walton
Nov. 18: Book signing at Barnes & Noble The Grove in downtown LA 8-10 p.m. with Bill Walton
Nov. 19: Book signing at the Team LA Store at Crypto.com Arena 6-7 p.m. before Clippers- Spurs
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