Broadcaster of the Week: Joel Meyers, Los Angeles Lakers
Posted Jan 24 2007 5:01PM
How many people can say they absolutely love what they do and wouldn't trade it for anything else? If you were to poll my colleagues who are fortunate enough to broadcast games in the NBA, I have a feeling they'd give you the same answer. There is no better job.
I was spoiled at an early age watching NBA greats long before I knew they were to be future Hall of Famers. Growing up in St. Louis, one of the great baseball cities, you were born a Redbird. And I did love my Cardinals. But the old St. Louis Hawks, as Sinatra would say, got under my skin. We all wanted to be the next Bob Pettit. Cliff Hagan's hook shot from that far out was hard to believe. Lenny Wilkens had the drag shot going under the big guys way before his time. Jumpin Joe Caldwell out of Arizona State was one of the early high fliers. The Big Z, Zelmo Beatty shored up the middle. And when we needed to bang on the boards we had the bumper Gene Tormolen along with two great rebounders in Paul Silas and Bill Bridges. The Hawks had me and so did the NBA.
To say I was heartbroken when the Hawks moved to Atlanta would be a massive understatement. I needed a team and fast. Bill Bradley was from nearby Crystal City, Missouri so the Knicks became my new team. My first year without a team in my hometown didn't end up to be completely devastating. Needless to say, I was just a little lucky. Thank you Red Holzman. What a group with Reed, Frazier, Bradley, Debusschere, Dick Barnett and a youngster I'd get to know later in my life, Phil Jackson. I stayed with the Knicks through the 72-73 season. It was easy with that nucleus and the additions of Jerry Lucas and Earl "The Pearl" Monroe. By the mid seventies I was making the six hour drive to Chicago to see the Bulls who to this day were one of the toughest teams I have ever seen. Jerry Sloan, Norm Van Lier, Chet "The Jet" Walker, Bob "Butterbean" Love, Clifford Ray and Tom Boerwinkle had the old Chicago Stadium packed. I may have lost my team when the Hawks left St. Louis but my love for the game and the NBA became even more passionate.
From this passion came my career. After attending the University of Missouri, I headed to Detroit for a broadcasting job at a radio station. Although I did not know one person in the Motor City I was at home instantly since they had an NBA team. During my first week there, I introduced myself to the Pistons PR Director and was at Cobo Hall any night I wasn't on the air. I had a tape player in hand and would call every game, review my work and start all over again the next game. My goal was always the same. The NBA, no matter how long it took.
By the early 1980's I was lucky enough to be calling basketball and football games on KMPC radio for the UCLA Bruins. This was an incredible experience I will always be grateful for. Then nine years ago I realized that my dream was going to be a reality. The San Antonio Spurs hired me as their television play-by-play man to work alongside P.J. Carlesimo. If this wasn't as good as it gets, four years ago the Lakers, one of the greatest franchises in all sports, offered me the opportunity to do radio play-by-play with Mychael Thompson. My story only gets better. Two years ago I became the Lakers television voice with Stu Lantz. Every night during the season we watch the premier player in the game today, Kobe Bryant. Phil Jackson and his coaching staff of Kurt Rambis, Frank Hamblin, Brian Shaw, Kareem Abdul-Jabar and Tex Winter are developing their young talent consisting of Andrew Bynum, Jordan Farmar, Sasha Vujacic and Ronny Turiaf.
For Laker fans it's only going to get better. For me, I once again feel spoiled. Living in Los Angeles with my family and working in the NBA for the Los Angeles Lakers. That's as good as it gets.
Entering his fourth season with the Lakers and second as the teamís television play-by-play announcer, Joel Meyers brings over 20 years of broadcast experience to the organization. Moving over to television from his two-year position as the Lakersí radio play-by-play announcer (2003-2005), Meyers previously served four years as the voice of San Antonio Spursí television broadcasts before joining the Lakers.
Having worked for ESPN over more than a decade calling college football, college basketball and professional golf, Meyers has also worked for NBC covering the NFL, two Olympic Games as well as the NBA and professional golf.
Meyersí work with the Lakers is actually the second partnership between he and team owner Dr. Jerry Buss as he also served as a broadcaster for Bussí Prime Ticket Network (now FSN West and FSN West 2) at the stationís inception in 1985, calling collegiate baseball as well as indoor soccer.
In addition to his duties with the Lakers, Meyers has worked Sunday nights for CBS/Westwood One for the past nine years and will continue to call NFL action while also calling Big 12 college football on FSN every Saturday night.
A St. Louis native, Meyers attended the University of Missouri. He and his wife, Carol, have two sons, Drew and J.J. They reside in Hidden Hills.