The voice behind the Lakers comes to CSULB

BY: RITIA BRUCE

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Lakers announcer Stu Lantz sat with CSULB journalism professor John Shrader and journalism students in the Beach Auditorium for a Q&A forum Wednesday afternoon at the University Student Union.  Students had the opportunity to ask Lantz questions about his career as a broadcaster for the Lakers, to his years of experience announcing side by side with the legendary, late Chick Hearn. Going into announcing for the Los Angeles Lakers, Lantz had no experience in the field.  After graduating from the University of Nebraska, Lantz went to pursue his career which was not in professional basketball broadcasting.  He has a degree in elementary education which didn't qualify him for the job.  Lantz said, “I'm supposed to be teaching 3rd grade right now,” but instead he ends up broadcasting for the Lakers with Chick Hearn.

"You know usually when someone says they want to work with you it’s just talk..." but Hearn called him up and said he wanted to work with him and he's been all over the country since 1987 announcing for the Lakers.

Lantz shared many things he learned from Hearn since he was such a great inspiration for him. Two things Lantz told the students he lessened from Chick Hearn is professionalism and punctuality. Hearn always managed to be professional and was never late to anything.

"Chick used to be early for everything," said Lantz.  "If a game started at 8, he was there an hour earlier than when we should come.  I tried to beat him to the airport once and he still beat me and I realized the only way to beat him there was to sleep in the lobby overnight."

After some discussion, there was no way going around the big elephant in the room, and no not Kobe Bryant’s recent Achilles tendon injury, but power forward Dwight Howard leaving the Lakers. Journalism student Victor Martin asked Lantz how he felt about Howard leaving the Lakers and what made him leave.  He said it was obvious that Howard was going to leave the Lakers after just a season with him here in Los Angeles.  Lantz stated that it wasn’t Kobe or the coach’s fault for Howard leaving.

“It was more of the [Lakers’] system...but as a player he's also very limited with what he can do as a post player,” Lantz said. Howard was leaving regardless because he just wasn’t fitting in.

Near the end of the forum Lantz shared what he thinks of the Lakers this upcoming season.

"I think the biggest issue this upcoming season will be health for all the players,” said Lantz.  “You have Steve Nash as point guard, who is the oldest player in the NBA, Gasol who had surgery on both knees....and Bryant who is recovering from his Achilles tendon injury.”

You can catch Stu Lantz announcing alongside Bill MacDonald at the next Lakers pre-season game, Saturday against the Golden State Warriors.