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NBA Finals: Lakers vs. Bulls : A Real Bunch of Veterans : Hearn, Albert, Durham Combine for 72 Years of Experience

June 07, 1991|LARRY STEWART

It is a historic NBA championship series, matching Magic Johnson against Michael Jordan, and three people who are a major part of it are Chick Hearn, Marv Albert and Jim Durham, who among them have 72 years of pro basketball broadcasting experience.

This is Hearn's 31st season with the Lakers; NBC's Albert has been the voice of the New York Knicks for 24 seasons, and Durham, the voice of the Chicago Bulls, is in his 17th season.

Albert, who also announces Ranger hockey, is sort of the Chick Hearn of New York and, since 1975, has done a variety of sports for NBC. But this is Albert's first NBA finals for a network, as this is NBC's first year with the NBA.

"I've done some big boxing matches, some major football games and other big events but, for me, this is it--the high point of my career," he said. "It's what I've always looked forward to doing. There's nothing I would rather be doing.

"And getting the Lakers and Bulls, Magic and Michael, well, that's a big plus, although I would have looked forward to a Portland-Chicago series as well."

Is this the biggest final series in NBA history? Hearn, for one, isn't ready to concede that just yet.

"I'd say the three series between Magic and (Boston's Larry) Bird (1984, '85 and '87) were bigger because of what they meant to making the NBA as popular as it is," Hearn said.

"But before it's over, this series may be the biggest. I know it's huge in Chicago, and I'm happy for the Windy City. After 25 years in the league, they deserve this."

And so does Los Angeles.

"The crowds for the last two Portland games at the Forum were the loudest I've ever heard," Hearn said.

"I think back to the old days when the Lakers had Elgin Baylor and Jerry West but played before small crowds at the Sports Arena and the Pan Pacific Auditorium. I just marvel at how far the NBA has come."

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