Lakers Honor John Radcliffe
"He represents the class and the elegance of the Lakers franchise." - Public Address Announcer Lawrence Tanter
The official scorekeeper for the Los Angeles Lakers since the days of Jerry West and Elgin Baylor, John Radcliffe held a special place in the purple and gold heart.
Radcliffe passed away at the age of 73 on September 22, 2009, after holding his scorekeeper post for 48 years. He was extremely popular in the organization and a friend to all who crossed his path.
"I worked with him for 26 years," said Tanter. "He was my friend, my co-worker, and I'm really proud and happy that (during a first quarter timeout of Friday's Lakers - Grizzlies game) we did a small tribute to him. We named the scorer's table the 'John Radcliffe Memorial Scorer's Table,' and that will be from now until eternity for all Lakers home games."
Indeed, a large replica of Radcliffe's signature was revealed on the scorer's table, as his wife Carolyn and daughter Suzanne were presented with a 2009 Lakers championship ring.
Radcliffe started as official scorekeeper for the Lakers in 1961 at the Sports Arena, before moving to the Fabulous Forum in 1967 and finally to STAPLES Center in 1999.
"Not only was he the longest tenured official scorer for the Lakers, he was the longest tenured official scorer in NBA history," said Tanter. "I think he was the longest tenured Lakers employee of all time. He witnessed more basketball in Los Angeles than anyone else we can think of."
One relatively recent highlight Tanter recalls is the 81-point game from Kobe Bryant (Jan 22, 2006, vs. Toronto) scored by Radcliffe, who somehow managed to fit all of Bryant's baskets onto one sheet of paper. Radcliffe then presented a copy of the sheet to Bryant for his memoirs. It is such memories that Tanter will always have, and with Radcliffe's signature and name now adorned to the table at which he sat for so many years, the rest of us might too.
"I'm really proud the Lakers are acknowledging John's contribution to the franchise and to the NBA, and I'm very proud that he was my friend," Tanter concluded.
Radcliffe was equally loved over at Torrance High School, where he was the school's baseball coach, not to mention - at one time or the other - the athletic director and coach of the football, volleyball, track and softball teams.
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