"The Voice of the Clippers" Ralph Lawler answers questions from fans

Ralph’s Got Mail!

Every Wednesday during the second half of the 2006-07 season, "The Voice of the Clippers" Ralph Lawler will answer select e-mailed questions on Clippers.com.

Please note: Lawler's thoughts and opinions are his and his alone. In no way do they necessarily reflect those of the Los Angeles Clippers organization. (But we listen to him anyway because he's the "Voice of the Clippers.")


Thanks for responding to my question last week. My fiancée got a kick out of it.

Ok, now I have a follow up question. During the off season when there is no basketball....what do you do? It will be strange after we play thru June this year right?

Thanks for the time.
Tim Olivas

Tim –

June would be Great !!!

My wife and I have three kids and seven grandkids between us. They give us a lot of joy and generously share their time with us during the off-season. We also love to travel and are fortunate enough to be able to do quite a bit of it.

Still, there’s not as much off time as it might appear. I like to attend as many of the pre-draft work-outs as possible… then there’s the draft and then the Summer League in Las Vegas in July. Before you know it, the summer is gone and it’s time for training camp in October.

- Ralph


I hope you keep broadcasting forever, or as long as I'm alive. Do you have any plans to retire? If you ever get the idea of retiring, there will be a rebellion in the ranks!!


Robert –

No thought of retiring, but a little curious … how long do you plan on living?

- Ralph


Would the Clippers ever have moved north from San Diego if Bill Walton had been healthy? The early 1980's Clippers had some good teams and above .500 records but just didn't make the playoffs.

John Bowen

John –

I think the NBA might have succeeded in San Diego if Walton had stayed even reasonably healthy. Sadly, in five years with the Clips in San Diego, Bill played in only 102 of a possible 410 games. He was just 26 years old when the Clippers signed him as a free agent.

Bill had been league MVP and won a Championship with the Trailblazers in Portland. It was a bold move by then owner Irv Levin, but a move that set the franchise back many years.

- Ralph

Hey Ralph,

I'm a die-hard Clipper fan and I have to say you're by far the best play-by- play broadcaster in the NBA and I look forward to getting an autographed photo of yourself to hang in my Clippers game room.

My question to you is: Do you feel the fact the Clippers are finally paying good money for solid players is due to the fact the team generates more revenue by playing out of Staples Center as opposed to the Sports Arena?

Eddie Hernandez

Eddie –

No doubt the cash flow generated by Staples Center has helped. However, the owner has always said that he’d pay top dollar for top talent. He’s proving it. It’s very hard to name a top player that he let get away.

As a matter of fact, there’s only one L.A. Clippers player that the team let go by either trade or as a Free Agent who went on to become an NBA All-Star. The shocking answer is that it was center James Donaldson.

If there’s one they’d like to do over, it would probably involve finding a way to keep Lamar Odom in a Clippers uniform. Still, that’s not a bad record over the course of 20+ seasons in the city.

The autographed photo will be coming once we get home.

- Ralph

Hey what’s up Mr. Lawler?

I’m an 18-year-old die-hard Clipper fan. I’ve followed all Clippers games since the fifth grade and I love your work. I think you probably have the best job in the whole wide world. My question is what can I do to one day become an NBA play-by-play voice like you? Ideally, a Clippers play-by-play narrator. Thanks for the advice GO CLIPPPERS!!

Heleazar Ramirez

Heleazar –

I would certainly encourage you to get the best possible college education. A liberal arts education will give you a broad base from which to work. Take some classes in the communications arts at a school that has a reputation in the field.

That’s the ideal. Failing that, there are Radio-TV schools that help with some of the fundamentals of the business. The key is to get somewhere in a smaller market where you can get on the air as much as possible. Then it’s just a matter of being aggressive and working your way up the ladder.

Please don’t become too good too fast. I’d like to hold onto this gig for a while longer.

Good Luck.
- Ralph


Do you think the Clippers will make a move before the trade deadline or during the summer? If so, what?

Glen Agdinaoay

Glen –

My crystal ball is frosted over from all the cold weather we’re having back East, but my best guess would be that there’s no Clippers trade before the February 22 deadline. If something is done, I’m thinking it would more likely be somewhere around the June draft. But, you never can tell.

- Ralph


Big Clippers fan, until this weekend that is. It seems they were going through the motions just to watch the Super Bowl. Please respond, which I doubt you will.

David Garcia

David –

I can’t resist a good dare. I think you might be over-reacting a bit based on a game in which the hot-shooting Raptors probably would have beaten any team in the league. The Clippers had a night where they shot 60% recently … those things happen over the course of an 82-game season.

Oh, about the Super Bowl … they had a private room set up for the guys to catch the second half of the game once we arrived in New York City. Less than Half the team was even interested enough in the football game to show up.

These guys are dedicated, professional basketball players. Their focus that day and everyday is NBA Basketball.

- Ralph

Hi Mr. Lawler,

What do you think of the rumors of James Singleton being unhappy with his playing time and wanting to leave the team?

Darren Sims, Jr.

Darren –

I think James should be thankful for the opportunity the Clippers have given him. On second thought, it seems he agrees.

- Ralph


I know he's still young, and backing up Cassell, but will Livingston ever live up to all the hype?

Daniel B.

Daniel –

Hype is a powerful tool. It can make it very hard for a player to be as good as people want him to be. Shaun is a young man of such high character that I think he has a better chance than most to reach his potential. It is not just his youth, but he’s still maturing physically whereas a guy like LeBron James came into the league with the body of a full-grown man.

I think the team’s patience with Shaun Livingston still has a very good chance of being rewarded.

- Ralph


I love your work. I've always wondered, what do you think might have happened to your career if the Clippers had been a top contender during your 2200 broadcasts? Do you think your notoriety took a back seat to the famous Chick Hearn?

Dan Blomberg

Dan –

If so, it’s an honor to be in the same car as Chick Hearn.

- Ralph


I am a Clippers season-ticket holder and I still have faith that the Clippers can pull it together. I know that you say Sam Cassell is extremely important to the team and I do agree, but don't you think there are times when coach Dunleavy should take him out and replace him with Shaun? I know that many people do not trust Shaun with the ball, but I see so much potential with him and I feel the ball movement is a lot better with him running the point. He gets it into Elton a lot more and does not throw the ball away as much as Sam. Why doesn't Dunleavy tell Shaun to drive to the basket more?

Nobody can stop Shaun with his speed and length. I feel he could be much more of a scoring threat if the coach would let him.

Ali Yoshihara

Ali –

They are keeping a close tab on Sam’s minutes. The two, Sam and Shaun are a very good combination and they also spend some time on the court together.

- Ralph

Ralph Lawler and the Clippers are always included in my prayers. Now, another Clipper is added ... Mike Smith. God Bless all Clippers.

Maria Agustine

Maria –

I appreciate your prayers and I think it is safe to say that Mikesmith needs them.

- Ralph


How come James Singleton isn't getting more playing time? After the way he played last season, I thought that he would be part of the rotation this season. All he does when he plays is get rebounds, block shots and bring energy. Especially this season when the clippers needed that spark off the bench. It seems Dunleavy is using him less this season.

George Ferra

George –

Young players must earn their minutes and the coach clearly thinks James has not earned his so far this season. He will get more opportunities as the season unfolds. We all hope he can contribute.

- Ralph


Do you think the Clippers want a mascot? I have been creating mascots for the Clippers, Lakers, and the Knicks since neither team has one, and I was wondering if you would like me to send in the drawings of some of them. Maybe I have one you like. I would love to continue mascotting in the NBA.

Anthony Johnson

Anthony -

You should send your ideas via e-mail to Carl Lahr of the Clippers.

- Ralph


With the Clips signing Doug Christie to a 10-day contract, I was wondering how much would Coach Dunleavy use him in terms of his minutes on the floor?

Errol Coloma

Errol –

He was able to practice with the team Saturday in Toronto and Monday in New York. Doug played 22 minutes Tuesday night versus the Knicks. That indicates to me that the coach is very confident playing the veteran.

- Ralph


Player A passes to Player B. Player B takes a dribble before scoring. Does Player A get an assist?

Eric Hass


If Player B makes an immediate move to score and does, it’s an assist.

The scorer’s manual does not mention "dribble." If that pass from Player A leads directly to the score by a player who make an immediate move to score… it is an assist. If Player B dribbles, it is up to the official scorer to decide if that was a part of his immediate move to score.

- Ralph

Hello Ralph,

I'm originally from L.A. and I saw a Clippers game last year. Then I moved to Austin, Texas. My question is, Why did they sign Doug Christie to a 10-day contract? I wish they’d sign him for the entire season.

Thanks Ralph,
Willie Raymundo

Willie –

I think their reasoning was to take a 10-day look at Doug to see how he has responded to being out of the league for more than a year. After 10 days, they can sign him to another 10-day contract. After that, they can either sign him for the remainder of the season or release him. It’s a low risk opportunity to give a once outstanding player a chance to get back into the league. His play against the Knicks on Tuesday certainly did not hurt his chances of staying with the team for the entire season.

- Ralph


My question that will raise a BINGO: When are the Clippers going to pursue Kevin Garnett?

Mike Rios

Mike –

The team is always looking for ways to improve itself, but to make a deal for Garnett work under the current rules, the Clippers would need to give up both Elton Brand and another key player in the $6-7 Million dollar a year range: (Maggette, Cassell or Mobley). That’s a high price even for a great player like Garnett. But, again, the team is committed to doing whatever it takes to get to the next level.

- Ralph


Are we ever going to see anything good out of Korolev? The team was improving and we could have used a contributing player (there appeared to be many available at that spot in the draft), and we got a project player. It would be nice to have Gerald Green or Danny Granger coming in off the bench. Maybe we wouldn't be signing 10-day contract guys if we picked better in 2005.

Barry S.

Barry –

Hard to argue against your point. The NBA Draft is a lot easier from this end than it was from the other. The draft is a series of hits and misses. So far, this one looks like a miss, but I have a lot of faith in the people who have put this roster together. They’ve done a lot more things right than they’ve done things that are wrong.

- Ralph


Why does Cuttino Mobley wear those large arm bands? (I'm not even sure what to call them.)

Keith Dawson

Keith –

They are called "Compression Sleeves." Cat has some arthritis in his left elbow and this provides some warmth and support. He wears the one on his right arm pretty much just because he wants to.

- Ralph


What’s going on?! I just moved to Arizona from Cali and I'm sad to say that I won't be able to see the Clippers play at Staples Center as often. My question is do we really need Doug Christie and what’s up with the 10-day contract?

Joe Ahn

Joe –

If Doug can play anywhere close to his past abilities, the Clippers can darn well use him. He was a starter for the Dallas Mavericks early last season before injuries forced him into seeming retirement. He feels great now and the 10-day contract gives the team a chance to see what he has left.

- Ralph


I recently moved from Orange County to South Carolina. The thing I miss most aside from my oldest son, is driving up the I-5 to Staples Center with my wife and kids to watch the Clippers. How or when will they start televising Clippers games on the East Coast? GO CLIPPERS!

Victor Nava

P.S. There is only one team for my family, and it doesn't wear purple or gold.

God love you Victor, we appreciate your sentiments. Just about Every Clipper game is available on NBA League Pass. If that is not an option, eight are televised nationally on NBA-TV, six on ESPN, four on TNT and one or two on ABC. If you can’t get some of those outlets at home, there’s always a sports bar. Please watch responsibly.

- Ralph

Hi Ralph,

Thanks so much for your years of brilliant play-by-play.

When I was a broadcasting student at Arizona State from 1998-2001, you on a couple of occasions took the time to chat with me about broadcasting, answer questions, and even did interviews for our student radio show.

I'm proud to say that since then I have successfully made it "into the business" and have started working my way up. You have had a huge influence on my broadcast style, especially in terms of how to appropriately work your personality into a broadcast.

One thing you have done makes it harder for me though...whenever I'm calling a game and see a three-pointer, my first thought is "Bingo!". So far I've resisted the temptation to steal it.

Thanks so much for your inspiration!

Jeff Lasky

Jeff –

Thanks so much for the kind words. I had the help, encouragement and support of broadcasters such as Chick Hearn and Tom Kelly when I was growing up in Peoria, Illinois.

Your day will come where you’ll be able to inspire some young man or woman as they try to climb the ladder in this wonderful profession.

Good luck.

- Ralph

Hey Ralph,

I've been a fan of this team for just about 15 years or so, going back to my junior high days. First off, I just wanted to say that I've enjoyed the magnificent job you've done over the years. You're a great treasure to the Clipper Faithful.

Anyway, my question is, as great of a venue Staples Center has been (and I've enjoyed going there), how does it feel, in your humble opinion, that the Clippers and Lakers share the same building? To me, I've always felt with the Clippers trying to establish themselves as a more solid franchise, they should have their own venue, but of course, still remain in the Los Angeles region. Places like a renovated Long Beach Arena (á la KeyArena and the Oakland Arena) or the Honda Center would be ideal.

Thanks for your time, and GO CLIPPERS!

Shawn Hill

Shawn –

I really felt the team should have made the move to Anaheim when it was presented to them in the mid to late 1990’s. However, owner Donald T. Sterling saw the bigger picture which may explain why he’s the owner and I’m the broadcaster. His patience and determination paid off in 1999 when the Clippers moved into Staples Center along with the Lakers and the Kings.

It has proven to be a stroke of genius. We’ve seen the baseball Angels adopt the Los Angeles name from their Anaheim home. The Clippers don’t need to do that, they are proud to be in Los Angeles and to represent Los Angeles.

Staples Center is the premiere sports and entertainment venue in the United States. There is not a better place to play or see an NBA game.

- Ralph


Congratulations on your longevity, great job.

I think I have an idea as to how to get the players to play defense the way the coach wants. What to you think of having a video camera shooting each player during the game, the same as Shaq did with his free throw shooting. Then when they review it, they can clearly see their mistakes, much more so than reviewing regular game films. Even with the camera focused on them only, it will still show all of the action within 8-to-10 feet of them. What do you think? Worth a try?

If possible ,could you please pass this on to coach?

Alwaid Johnson

Alwaid –

You would be amazed how much video this team watches. I’m not talking about sitting back and watching a replay of their last game. It is much more involved than that. There are three top-flight video and basketball professionals who work in the team’s video department under the direction of Coach Mike Dunleavy. Video staffers Raman Sposato, Brian Switzer and Ahmad Ajami might be the hardest working guys in the organization. They break down game tapes in the finest of detail. They’ll make a disc of only defending the pick and roll or of boxing out for defensive rebounding. They can start, stop and run these things forwards, backwards and almost sideways. Chris Kaman can get a disc comparing just his play of this year vs. his play of last year.

Anything you can imagine can and probably has been done. Video has become an absolutely vital teaching aide in professional basketball. The Clippers have the latest state of the art equipment and top people to utilize it to the fullest.

- Ralph

Hey Ralph,

It is an honor to be e-mailing you. I have been a Clippers fan my whole life and love your broadcasts. I don’t really have a question, but I would like to say that no matter how good EB is and how much of an importance Sam is and no matter how loyal us in Clipper Nation are and how great Coach D. is, you sir, are by far the MVP of this team.

-Andrew Papazian

Andrew –

I’ll keep your e-mail on file in case I ever need an agent.

Thanks for your support and your kind sentiments.

- Ralph

Hey Ralph,

I love both the Lakers and the Clippers. The best move the Clippers done were getting a great coach like Mike Dunleavy and signing veteran Sam Cassell. They really taught those young players how to play great ball. Now that Cassell is getting closer to retirement, how are the Clippers going to replace our great guard?

Mason Sultan

Mason –

No doubt the plan is to have Shaun Livingston grow into that role.

People keep forgetting that he’s only 21 years of age. The team still believes in Shaun and Sam has been a great help to him.

- Ralph


I had the pleasure of growing up in L.A. and listening to the best sports announcers all congested in one city: Chick Hearn, Vin Scully, Bob Miller and the great Ralph Lawler. Now that I travel the country I realize how lucky we are in L.A. Love your work thanks for the memories. My question is: were you and Chick friends?

Carlos Monroy

Carlos –

We were very good professional friends. I’d known Chick and been inspired by him since he was working in Peoria, Illinois where he worked while I was growing up. When I first got into the league, he was among the first to offer support and guidance. His wife, Marge, is to this day, a friend and inspiration to me.

Thanks for your thoughts.

- Ralph


I believe that every Clipper should take pride in their defense; do you think that it is ok for a player to be happy with being a mediocre defender?

Daniel Tsuha

Daniel –

You could get a job on the team’s coaching staff. Your sentiments and theirs are pretty much the same.

Obviously, some players are gifted with an athletic talent that makes it easier for them to be a good defender. Some guys with short arms may have trouble getting deflections or getting out into the passing lane … some who don’t have quick feet may have trouble keeping quicker players in front of them, but all players can subscribe to playing good team defense. That’s more a matter of hard work and commitment.

- Ralph

Aloha from Hawaii, Ralph.

I've been a Clippers fan since the Q and D. Miles days and haven't looked back since then. Did either of them ever tell you the meaning of the "fists to forehead" after making a basket?

Also, it was very disappointing that you were not included in the Fox roundtable chat a few years back with Vin Scully, Chick Hearn and Bob Miller. As the Voice of the Clippers, you deserved to be there.

Long live the "Bingo!", "Oh me, Oh my!" and "Lawler's Law!" Can you please incorporate "Aloha Ball" "Aloha Point" or "Aloha Basket" on a game-winning Clipper clincher for me, Hawaii's devoted Clippers fan? Thanks!


Ron –

I’ve been surprised in our travels to Hawaii in recent years that we’ve met many Clippers fans who see the games on FSN Prime Ticket.

Aloha friend. Great to hear from you.

- Ralph

PS. Q and D. Miles said if they told me the truth, they’d have to kill me.


Will the clippers trade Corey Magette to Orlando for Grant Hill?

Will this team sign Doug Christie to a full contract extension to give the Clippers postseason veteran experience if they can make the playoffs?

Eric Sabino

Eric –

The trade with Orlando would simply be to create cap space and I don’t believe that is the direction they are leaning right now. Corey can help this team win. They’d only trade him for someone they think could help them More.

Time will tell with Doug. He’ll have one or two 10-day deals to show the coaching staff what he’s got.

- Ralph


Tell me more about your time in Riverside, CA. I understand you worked at Ramona High. Did you live there, too?

Three words in parting: "Better than Chick." BINGO!

Bama Brower

Bama –

Nobody will ever be better than Chick or mean more to this city than he did.

Nonetheless, I appreciate the kind words.

I was in Riverside at KPRO Radio from 1961 to 1970. I was married at the Mission Inn and my son was born a year later. They were very happy years.

I owned my first home there. It was in an area called Canyon Crest.

We broadcast a lot of high school, (Ramona & Riverside Poly) junior college and 4-year college Sports as well as auto races at the old Riverside International Raceway.

Dick Clark owned the radio station and we had one heck of a good time.

- Ralph

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