Utah Jazz broadcaster Hot Rod Hundley to retire

Legendary Utah Jazz broadcaster “Hot” Rod Hundley will call his last Jazz game at the end of the 2009 season.  Until then, Hundley can be heard on 1320 KFAN and Jazz Radio Network affiliates.  Hundley is currently in his fourth season as the radio voice of the Jazz after 31 years as the play-by-play voice of Jazz radio/television simulcasts.

The only member of the original New Orleans Jazz staff to remain with the team all 35 seasons, he joined the organization prior to the expansion team’s inaugural season in 1974-75 and moved with the team when it relocated to Salt Lake City in 1979-80.

“The retirement of ‘Hot’ Rod marks the end of an era for the Utah Jazz,” said team President Randy Rigby.  His famous sayings, as well as his voice, are as well known in the community as the musical note logo and marquee players such as Stockton and Malone.  Hots will be truly missed by so many of our loyal fans as well as our players, coaches and front office staff.  We wish him only the best as he goes on to enjoy his family, friends and retirement.”

Hundley entered 2008-09 having broadcast 2,964 of a possible 2,978 Jazz regular season and playoff games over his first 34 years, and has called well over 3,000 NBA games overall.  Now in his 42nd season as an NBA broadcaster, Hundley calls games with a distinctive voice and unique play-by-play style that has made him instantly recognizable to audiences nationwide.

“Retiring was a tough decision for me to make,” said Hundley.  “But after 42 seasons of broadcasting, countless miles on the road, hotel rooms and airplanes, I have decided that spending quality time with my daughters and grandchildren is what I want to do.  I am grateful to Larry and Gail Miller for their support over the years and have nothing but fond memories of my time with the Jazz organization.  I would also like to thank all of the fans in Salt Lake City and throughout the great state of Utah for all of your support over the years.  It has truly meant the world to me.”

Hundley moved to radio only prior to the 2005-06 season, marking a return to the Hall of Famer’s roots, back when he called Los Angeles Lakers games with the legendary Chick Hearn.

In 1994, he won the NBA’s Distinguished Broadcaster Award, an honor given only twice previously. “Hot Rod” called his 2,500th Jazz game on February 19, 2003, against the Lakers, and received the 14th Annual Curt Gowdy Media Award from the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame during Enshrinement Weekend, on September 5, 2003, in Springfield, Mass.  He is the first former player and the first broadcaster from Utah to be enshrined in the writer/broadcaster wing of the Basketball Hall of Fame.  He was inducted into the Utah Broadcaster Hall of Fame in June of 2004 and on June 16, 2005 he was inducted into the Utah Summer Games Hall of Honor.

Prior to becoming the voice of the Jazz, Hundley worked two seasons for the L.A. Lakers alongside Hearn, and five seasons for the Phoenix Suns including a stint with Suns’ legend Al McCoy.  While working for the Lakers and Suns, Hundley called the college game of the week on TVS alongside Dick Enberg.  He announced five years for CBS-TV calling the NBA game of the week, including four All-Star Games, and called two All-Star Games on ABC Radio.

A native of Charleston, W.V., Hundley was a three-time All-American at West Virginia University, where he earned the nickname “Hot Rod” for his flamboyant playing style.  Hundley was made the first pick in the 1957 NBA College Draft by the Cincinnati Royals and was immediately traded to the Minneapolis Lakers.  He played six seasons for the Minneapolis and Los Angeles Lakers, earning All-Star honors in 1960 and 1961, and averaging 8.4 points, 3.4 assists and 3.3 rebounds in 431 career games before retiring following the 1962-63 season.

Author: Inside Hoops

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