I <3 Stu Lantz
Posted by hiphopmama on December 7, 2008
I’m not a fan of sports announcers. It’s a thankless job, I know, because you’re only really noticed when you’re bad, but I still detest the majority of them. Bill Walton tops my shit list for sheer ridiculousness. A friend and I once listened to him gush all game about David Robinson, and we joked that he was going to call him the most perfect human being in history. Shortly thereafter, Bill went on to declare, “When Michaelangelo sat back and pondered the perfect man to sculpt, that man was David Robinson.” Or something like that – you get the gist. Jeff Van Gundy is an irritating little twat as well, although it’s his demeanor more than what he says that gets under my skin. And don’t even get me started on NFL announcers.
So when I find one that I like, it’s quite an endorsement and probably means they are exceptional at what they do. That said, Stu Lantz is, far and away, the best sports announcer that I have ever listened to. He is the color commentator for Lakers home broadcasts and worked for years with Chick Hearn (the other GOAT). My favorite all-time duo was Stu and Paul Sunderland – because I only got to hear Chick later in life when he was past his prime and calling out names like Worthy and Jabbar – but unfortunately he wasn’t picked back up after filling in for Chick during his medical absence. Regardless, Stu is like a family member to me. Not only is he an incredibly congenial figure, but he provides the most informative commentary you will hear. I always feel like I have attended a basketball seminar after listening to him call a game, especially when it comes to learning about how the big guys play. He is always imparting bits of wisdom from the big man camps he has been involved with over the years, and when I am not able to hear him call a Lakers game I often know exactly what he would be saying at a given moment. I’m obviously biased myself, but I also feel like he is one of the least partial home announcers out there too. He is quick to disagree with referee calls he views as wrong, whether or not they favor the Lakers, and he has plenty of positives and negatives to spread around for both teams. Listening to all the other home commentators through the NBA League Pass only furthers my belief in Stu’s excellence. Suffice it to say that a Lakers game feels incomplete without his words of wisdom.
Because I now live in a part of the state that residents somehow believe to be “northern” California, I don’t get to watch Lakers games and thus chose to subscribe to the aforementioned League Pass package. Because they usually broadcast the home team’s feed, I have grown to hate road games because it means I won’t get to hear Stu give his estimable opinion on our play. I’ve been very fortunate that the Lakers played 10 of their first 15 games at Staples, which unfortunately means that I have a disproportionate number of games to go without him, not to mention the nationally broadcast games that result in a blackout of the home coverage. Damn TNT and ESPN. I don’t know how I’m going to survive the playoffs.