The Lakers said goodbye to their First Lady on Sunday, as the team announced that Marge Hearn — the widow of legendary broadcaster Chick Hearn — passed away the night before of natural causes.
"We are very sad at the passing of our beloved Marge Hearn," team President and co-owner Jeanie Buss said in a statement. "We consider ourselves blessed and fortunate, however, to have had her be a part of the Lakers family for six decades. She was truly the First Lady of the Lakers, sitting alongside her husband, the voice of the Lakers, Chick Hearn."
Marge, 98, made frequent cameos during Chick's play-by-play — often at her own expense. "Marge could have made that shot," Chick would say when a player missed an easy bucket.
Though she didn't have the same platform as her husband, Marge, too, had a keen sense of humor, which Kobe Bryant recalled fondly after Sunday's game, which included a moment of silence for the team matriarch.
“I remember having great conversations with Marge and Chick,” Kobe Bryant said. “Obviously her being the backbone for Chick for so many years — it’s sad to see her go. Those two were just a legendary Laker couple.”
A 20-year veteran in his own right, Bryant was still in the first half of his career when Chick died in 2002. Current head coach Byron Scott was a member of the Showtime Lakers of the 1980s, whom Chick helped make famous, with Marge beside him.
“Marge was like everybody’s mom,” Scott said. “Especially a lot of the Laker wives were able to confide in Marge as somebody you can trust — somebody they loved. She would be a lot like Chick as far as giving it to you pretty straight. Marge has always been like a Laker mom as far as I’m concerned.”
Marge and Chick were married from 1938-2002. She gave the acceptance speech when he became the first broadcaster inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame one year after his death. She spoke on his behalf once again on April 20, 2010 when Chick was given a statue outside of Staples Center.
“To listen to her talk, you could tell where all the strength in the Hearn family came from,” Scott said.