Former Clipper Bill Walton is an NBA Hall of Famer, but he wasn’t good enough to make legendary team broadcaster Ralph Lawler’s all-franchise team.
“He’s deserving of being one of the greatest 50 players of all time, but he was not during his tenure with us,” Lawler said of his part-time television broadcast partner, who was injured for most of his six seasons as a Clipper player. "[Walton’s] great years, as few as they were, unfortunately, were in Portland with the Trail Blazers.”
Lawler has worked with the Clippers since the franchise moved from Buffalo, N.Y., to California in 1977. His first team consists of center Bob McAdoo, forwards Danny Manning and Terry Cummings and guards World B. Free and Norm Nixon.
“I came up with the team based on memory and reflections of all the years,” Lawler said. “McAdoo is the only guy I didn’t broadcast as a Clipper or Buffalo Brave. But I did a lot of his games when I was in Philadelphia. . . . I just think his accomplishments warrant his being on the team.”
High-scoring forward Tom Chambers heads Lawler’s six-player second team. Former UCLA players Swen Nater and Marques Johnson join Chambers in the frontcourt with Derek Smith, Randy Smith and current Laker Ron Harper in the backcourt.
“People sometimes tend to forget how many great players have worn this uniform over the years,” Lawler said. “We all get kind of reflective at the end of the year, end of the decade. . . . There are a lot of outstanding players I’ve been really privileged to watch.”
Lawler listed Lamar Odom, Maurice Taylor and Derek Anderson as three current Clippers who could become all-franchise players if they are kept together.
Odom, who was not aware Chambers is a former Clipper, was surprised to be included on Lawler’s list.
“That’s definitely a great team with great players. They are legends of the game,” Odom said. “It’s a compliment to be such a young player and to have your name talked about in the same breath as those players.”