Forty Years in the NBA
by Ralph Lawler; Chris Epting
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Pub Date 08 Nov 2022 | Archive Date 30 Nov 2023
Bingo!: Forty Years in the NBA is the memoir of legendary Los Angeles Clippers and sports broadcaster Ralph Lawler. Bingo! covers Lawler’s extraordinary life and career, from his childhood in Peoria, Illinois; through his time at Bradley University; to the beginning of his sports announcing career at the Riverside International Raceway; his years spent in Philadelphia with the Flyers, Phillies, and 76ers; his stint in San Diego with the Sails and the Chargers; and culminating in his 40-year career with the Clippers.
Along the way, basketball and the NBA is the focus of the book, with Lawler’s observations and stories about players, coaches, and teams from the 1940s through his retirement at the close of the 2019 season forming the core of the narrative. Included among the myriad stories and reflections are his relationships with NBA legend Bill Walton, infamous Clippers owner Donald Sterling, Clippers GM and NBA great Elgin Baylor, and a variety of famous players, coaches, and fellow broadcasters from throughout the NBA.
As Lawler used to memorably say from behind the microphone, “Fasten your seatbelts!” Bingo! is a fun-filled journey through professional basketball, with plenty of “Oh me, oh my!” moments, including the definitive answer to the burning question all NBA fans want to know: What are the origins of Lawler’s Law?
A Note From the Publisher
Chris Epting is the author of 40 books, including James Dean Died Here (Santa Monica Press), Roadside Baseball (Santa Monica Press), Bingo! (Ralph Lawler’s memoir) (Santa Monica Press), Change of Seasons (John Oates’ memoir) (St. Martin’s Press) and many others. He is also an award-winning travel writer and has contributed articles for such publications as the Los Angeles Times, Westways, and Travel + Leisure magazine, among other publications. In addition, Epting is a veteran music journalist and co-wrote Def Leppard’s Phil Collen’s memoir, Adrenalized, and the Doobie Brothers’ memoir Long Train Runnin’ along with several others. Epting also co-created and co-hosts the REELZ Channel docuseries “It Happened Here.”
“Ralph Lawler—a rare and different dude, and a spiritual force of nature beyond description—is as fine a broadcaster, friend, and human being as has ever lived.” —Bill Walton
“Few people can match my love for the game and the NBA’s 75-year history, but I met my match in Ralph Lawler. The NBA, the Clippers, and all of us who knew Ralph during his Hall of Fame career miss him as we continue our lives in this great sport.” —Chris Paul, NBA player
“There have been very few broadcasters in the history of professional sports who had the impact on their team like Ralph Lawler had on the Clippers. You could make the claim that Ralph was the most important figure in the history of the franchise. For decades, Ralph informed, educated, and entertained generations of Clippers fans. Now he’s doing more of the same with this wonderful book. He is truly one of the great voices in NBA broadcasting history, and personally, one of my broadcasting heroes.” —Mike Breen, Basketball Hall of Fame broadcaster
“Ralph provided 40-plus years of the most consistent excellence that the Clippers ever mustered . . . and he STILL had endless stories to share. His commentary became synonymous with the franchise—in the grand L.A. tradition of Vin Scully, Chick Hearn, and Bob Miller—and now Ralph’s tales will live in one place forever. I loved being able to replay them all in Bingo!” —Marc Stein, Basketball Hall of Fame NBA journalist
“I listened to Ralph Lawler through all the ups and downs . . . for so many years. Now I feel like I’m listening to him all over again. The mark of a terrific book is if it sounds like the author. If you know Ralph, you’ll love this book. If you don’t . . . you’ll love this book. This is an intimate, honest account of a great career and a great life. BINGO!” —Billy Crystal, Clippers fan
“Ralph Lawler was an NBA institution, narrating the ridiculous lows and sudden highs of an NBA franchise with a steady sense of humor and an amazing depth of knowledge. I was lucky to hear so many of these stories in press rooms around the country with Ralph and his sweet Jo and Bingo! captures that energy. With the Clippers, Ralph lived one of the NBA’s wildest rides and you’ll love traveling it again with him in these pages.” —Dan Woike, Los Angeles Times
“The retired Clippers broadcaster has written a book that’s rich with basketball history that’s both broad and personal.” —Mirjam Swanson, Orange County Register
“I have known Ralph for at least 45 years dating back to my days coaching the Kentucky Colonels in the ABA. He remains as current today as he was then. This book sees him relating the present-day NBA player and game to what he saw in the 1950s. It is a unique perspective on our great sport. Ralph stands as the unabashed historian of the L.A. Clippers and here he details all the good, bad, and ugly. This is an informative and entertaining read.” —Hubie Brown, Basketball Hall of Fame NBA coach and broadcaster
“Wow! Does this rekindle memories. Bingo! is a real basketball story, accurately reported and written. This book is a winner! Ralph, thanks for sharing these stories. What a career, what a great read!” —Al McCoy, the Voice of the Suns
“For those who were fans of Ralph Lawler the broadcaster, and for those who had never heard of Ralph Lawler, Bingo! reveals an interesting man living an interesting life. For those who are fans of the NBA or who love basketball, Bingo! is well-worth the effort. And for those who are fascinated by the vicissitudes of life, there is more than enough to keep you engaged with Bingo! and Ralph Lawler. To use Lawler’s famous tag line, ‘Oh me, oh my.’” —New York Journal of Books
“As the voice of the Clippers, Lawler’s epic calls of ‘Bingo!’ or ‘Oh me, oh my!’ ring in the ears of any basketball fan who’s watched the team’s games over the years. . . . Now retired, his storied life and his well-founded takes on all of the NBA’s greatest teams and players ever, is now chronicled in his book Bingo!: Forty Years in the NBA.” —Khary Higgins, NBA.com
“A rollicking ride through the blessed life of a hoops junkie who hit the motherlode: broadcasting his favorite team’s games for 40 years. It’s a sports fan’s dream, and the book reads like it.” —Paul Teeter, Easy Reader News
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 2 members
I kept seeing this book in the Amazon library and was interested in reading it, but I always had another book I was reading until now. And, when I finished, I was glad because so far, it has been the best book I have read this year.
First, let me tell you that I am a fan of the NBA in general, so the majority of the players and coaches he mentioned, I was familiar with.
I enjoyed reading about how he got started as a broadcaster and, this book tells a lot of stories from his life in the NBA – from current and former players and coaches. Not just the Los Angeles Clippers.
I even liked how in each chapter, he called a time out and discussed something related to basketball.
Overall, it was an easy and quick read for me.