EL SEGUNDO – Due to a death in the family, Lakers radio color commentator Mychal Thompson will not be calling the Lakers’ contests December 11 versus Minnesota and December 12 at Utah, it was announced today. Additionally, Lakers television color commentator Stu Lantz will also miss six games from December 11-20 due to a surgical procedure his wife will be recovering from. In Lantz’s place, the Lakers will welcome back Naismith Hall of Fame broadcaster “Hot” Rod Hundley, a former Lakers color commentator alongside Chick Hearn and a member of the Lakers inaugural Los Angeles team. Filling in for Thompson on radio will be injured Lakers forward Luke Walton.
Hundley, selected first overall by the Cincinnati Royals in the 1957 NBA College Draft, originally joined the Lakers in a post-draft trade that brought the three-time West Virginia All-American to Minneapolis prior to the 1957-58 NBA season.
Playing six seasons for the Minneapolis and Los Angeles Lakers, Hundley averaged 8.4 points, 3.3 rebounds and 3.4 assists in 431 games before retiring following the 1962-63 season. A two-time NBA All-Star (1960 and 1961), he played alongside the likes of Vern Mikkelsen, Elgin Baylor and Jerry West and helped the Lakers to three Western Division Championships in his six seasons with the team.
Following his playing career, Hundley joined the legendary Chick Hearn in the Lakers broadcast booth as a radio/television color commentator for the 1967-68 and 1968-69 seasons. Moving to the Phoenix Suns broadcast position for five more seasons, he found his home behind the mic in 1974 as the voice of the New Orleans Jazz, a position he would hold for the next 35 seasons.
After 31 seasons as the play-by-play voice of Jazz radio/television simulcasts, four seasons as the radio voice of the Jazz and 42 total seasons encompassing more than 3,000 NBA games, Hundley retired from full-time broadcasting following Game 5 of the 2009 Western Conference First Round series between the Lakers and Jazz.
Hundley will return to STAPLES Center Friday, December 11 and join the Lakers for the next five road games, teaming with Lakers television play-by-play announcer Joel Meyers for the call on FS West Friday and KCAL-9 for the remaining games.
Walton, whose father Bill was a long-time broadcaster and studio analyst with the Los Angeles Clippers, NBC and ESPN, will join Spero Dedes for the call on 710 AM ESPN Radio. Prior to his back injury, he appeared in nine games, averaging 3.7 points, 1.7 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 10.6 minutes.