No. 7: Chick Hearn (582 first-place votes, 24,676 points) The legendary Lakers announcer received the third-most first-place votes but finished seventh overall because he was left off of several ballots. When trying to figure out what to write about Chick, it becomes obvious: If you don't know who he is, no description can really explain him, and if you do know who he is, then no description is necessary. Suffice to say, the way people discuss basketball all over the world would be different without him. He coined so many phrases that are a part of our everyday language now. Here are just a few of the famous "Chickisms," words or phrases invented by Chick: Air ball: A shot that misses everything. Air-mail special: A strongly blocked shot, often sent high into the stands. Bloooows the layup: Missed a very easy layup. He did the bunny hop in the pea patch: He was called for traveling. He got caught with his hand in the cookie jar: A reach-in foul. Charity stripe: The free-throw line. They couldn't beat the Sisters of Mercy: The team looks really inept on the court. They couldn't throw a pea into the ocean: The team is shooting poorly. Dribble-drive: A player drives the basket while dribbling. A frozen rope: A shot with a flat trajectory. Garbage time: The remainder of the game after a team has taken a big lead and both teams put in all their subs. Heart-brrrreak: A shot that appears to be going in but misses. He's in the popcorn machine: A defensive player got faked into the air by an offensive player's pump fake. Matador defense: A poor defense that allows the opponent to drive uncontested to the basket. The mustard's off the hot dog: A player attempts a flashy play that ends up in a turnover or a missed shot. Nervous time: The final moments of a game when the score is close. No harm, no foul: A non-call by an official when contact has occurred. Slam dunk: Yep, Hearn invented the phrase slam dunk. This game's in the refrigerator, the door is closed, the lights are out, the eggs are cooling, the butter's getting hard, and the Jell-O's jigglin': The Lakers are gonna win. Ticky-tack: A foul called when very little contact has been made. Triple-double: A player gets 10 or more (i.e. double digits) in three statistical categories: points, rebounds, assists, steals or blocked shots. Yo-yo-ing up and down: A player dribbles in one place as if he were playing with a yo-yo on a string.
Wally Skalij, Los Angeles Times
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