Since legendary Los Angeles Lakers broadcaster Chick Hearn, 85,
underwent open heart surgery on Dec. 19, 2001 (he had called
3,338 consecutive L.A. games), Paul Sunderland, the Fox Sports
Net and NBC broadcaster, has filled in as the team's play-by-play
voice. Last week we caught up with Sunderland.
SI: What's it like being Hollywood's most famous midseason
Sunderland: I'm not a replacement. I'm a stand-in.
SI: Your consecutive-games broadcasting streak stands at 20. Do
you think that will ever be broken?
Sunderland: Yeah, in about six hours.
SI: Marv Albert said following Chick Hearn was like following
Sinatra. What's following Paul Sunderland going to be like?
Sunderland: Since Chick's going to be following me, it will
probably be a relief for Lakers fans.
SI: Do you know the name of the guy who replaced Sean Connery as
Sunderland: Roger Moore.
SI: No, it was George Lazenby.
Sunderland: I should have known. People forget replacements,
SI: Your wife, Maud-Ann, is a former Swedish fencing champion.
Did you play a lot of Abba when you were courting her?
Sunderland: When I was courting her, Abba wasn't big-time yet.
But with her being a Swedish fencing champion, Abba was the least
of my worries.
SI: You were a member of the U.S. Olympic volleyball squad that
won the gold medal in 1984. Have you ever wished that your name
was Karch Kiraly?
Sunderland: No, I'm proud of my name, but I would have liked to
have played like Karch just for a day.
SI: Have you ever done anything 3,338 consecutive times?
Sunderland: Gone to bed at night.
SI: Who's the better-looking couple: Rick Fox and Vanessa
Williams or Phil Jackson and Jeanie Buss?
SI: Is that your answer?
Sunderland: That's my answer.
SI: As Chick would say, this interview's now in the refrigerator,
the door's closed, the lights are out, the eggs are cooling, the
butter's getting hard and the Jell-O is jiggling. Any thoughts?
Sunderland: And U2 has left the building.
COLOR PHOTO: JOHN W. MCDONOUGH