Former NBA All-Star, and popular Utah Jazz broadcaster “Hot” Rod Hundley died on March 27 at his home in Phoenix, aged 80.
The Utah Jazz announced his death, but the cause was not disclosed, the Washington Post reported.
“Hot Rod was the voice of the Utah Jazz for 35 years and his voice was synonymous with Jazz radio,” Jazz owner Gail Miller said in a statement. “The expressions he used throughout the game broadcasts are legendary. He had the unique ability to make the game come to life so that you felt as though you could see what was happening on the floor when listening to him call the games.”
Hundley broadcast 3,051 Jazz games from 1974 to 2009. He joined the franchise before its first season in New Orleans in 1974-75 and moved with the team to Salt Lake City in 1979-80.
Hundley played basketball for West Virginia University from 1954-57, taking the team to its first NCAA tournament appearance. In 1957, he became the only Mountaineer basketball player to be selected first in the NBA draft by the then-Cincinnati Royals, which immediately traded him to the then-Minneapolis Lakers.
Hundley played for the Minneapolis and Los Angeles Lakers from 1957-63, when bad knees forced him to retire. A 2-time NBA All-Star Hundley played in 431 NBA games,averaging 8.4 ppg, 3.3 rpg and 3.4 apg in 22.1 minutes on the court. He had his best season in 59-60, when he averaged 12.8 ppg for the Minneapolis Lakers.
After his basketball career, he became a renowned radio and television sports announcer. He was the voice of the New Orleans and Utah for 35 years. Hundley won several broadcasting awards.
“I first met Rod when I was 18,” Hall of Famer Jerry West said in a statement, “and he encouraged me to attend West Virginia University. We were Laker teammates and never lost contact.”
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