Hot Rod Hundley, Longtime Voice Of The Utah Jazz, Dies At 80
March 30, 2015 at 3:55 AM (PT)
ROD HUNDLEY, the basketball star turned longtime radio voice of the UTAH JAZZ, died FRIDAY (3/27) after a battle with Alzheimer's disease at his home in ARIZONA. He was 80.
HUNDLEY, known as "HOT ROD," starred as a player at WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY and, after being picked first in the 1957 NBA draft by the CINCINNATI ROYALS and then immediately traded to the MINNEAPOLIS LAKERS, played in the NBA for the LAKERS in MINNEAPOLIS and LOS ANGELES alongside another WVU star, JERRY WEST. After his playing career ended, he moved into broadcasting with the LAKERS, PHOENIX SUNS, CBS, and ABC RADIO before joining the expansion NEW ORLEANS JAZZ in 1974 as the team's radio and TV voice.
He moved with the club to SALT LAKE CITY in 1979 and continued to call JAZZ games until his 2009 retirement, simulcast on radio and TV for the first 31 seasons and then on radio only through his retirement. He was honored with the BASKETBALL HALL OF FAME's CURT GOWDY Media Award in 2003, and the media center at ENERGYSOLUTIONS ARENA in SALT LAKE CITY was dedicated to him in 2010.
The JAZZ will wear a black stripe on their jerseys for the remainder of this NBA season in HUNDLEY's memory. Owner GAIL MILLER issued a statement reading, “HOT ROD was the voice of the UTAH JAZZ for 35 years and his voice was synonymous with JAZZ radio. 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. ROD was a very special talent and will be missed by our family as well as JAZZ fans everywhere. Our thoughts and condolences are with the HUNDLEY family.” And team President RANDY RIGBY said, “ROD was a true professional, a great personal friend and remains a legend in the NBA broadcast industry. From his start with the franchise in NEW ORLEANS in 1974 when the JAZZ were an expansion team, HOT ROD built a fan base that remains unmatchable. With his signature ‘You Gotta Love it, Baby!’ to ‘With a gentle push and a mild arc the old cow hide globe hit home,’ ROD will be remembered as a true scholar of the game and will always remain a member of the JAZZ family.”