On Sunday a pair of Lakers legends will be honored, in separate ceremonies in two different cities. Former Laker great and general manager Jerry West is getting inducted into the founding class of the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in Kansas City. In Los Angeles, at Staples Center, Sunday night is Chick Hearn Night, honoring the longtime announcer, who passed away in 2002.
West averaged 24.8 points and 13.3 rebounds in three seasons at West Virginia, from 1957 to 1960, and is being honored in a ceremony in Kansas City. Ever shy, the man whose silhouette is the logo of the NBA told the Associated Press he is not comfortable accepting such honors:
"I think they think I'm going to die right away," West said earlier this week while standing in the plaza adjacent to Staples Center, where a bronze statue of his likeness will soon greet fans in perpetuity. "That's why they do these things. It's nice, but that doesn't define me as a player. ... I don't really embrace stuff like that. I would love to have a bunch of the players I played with up there with me. When it's just me, it's not the same."
For Hearn, who broadcast Lakers games from 1960 to 2002, the Lakers are holding a literacy drive in Chick's honor. The team is asking every fan to bring a book, which will in turn be donated to local literacy foundations in memory of Hearn. The Lakers released a statement saying, "The book drive is a perfect way to celebrate Chick’s passion for reading and education, and the Lakers dedication to literacy." All fans who bring a book to Staples Center Sunday night will receive a commemorative 2010-2011 Lakers pin. Chick Hearn Night has been celebrated at the home game closes to Hearn's birthday, every year since his death in 2002.
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