In 1986, someone produced this fantastic mix of memorable "Chickisms" and interjections over an unfussy, out-of-the-box drum-machine beat. The "Rap-Around" got some airplay on local radio and, of course, Amir and his young buddies went fucking apeshit for it (including Mike Kelly, who reminded me of the song's existence just a few months ago):
Chick Hearn, "Rap-Around" (YouTube)
Amir adored Chick's colorful language and phrasing, just like my father loved Yogi Berra's. I loved hearing them laugh from the TV room while watching a game; joining them occasionally, I'd snicker right along with them when Chick threw out gems such as "The mustard's off the hot dog." Owing to my minimal interest in the sport itself, I found the witty wordplay of announcers like Chick to be the most enjoyable part of listening to a game.
As a young kid, Amir filled notebooks meticulously with pages of sports statistics and scores. He collected baseball cards and preserved them carefully and lovingly in plastic sleeves filling scores of three-ring binders, which he cherished. As a teenager and into his 20s, he wrote fairly extensively and wittily about sports, particularly basketball and baseball. I often encouraged him to parlay his extraordinary perceptiveness, cleverness and natural wordsmithing talent into becoming a sports writer. He could have been so fucking great, infusing sharp humor and wit into observations derived from his bottomless knowledge of and love for sports (a la the fabulous Frank Deford, whose greatness in my eyes comes from the fact that I enjoyed his sports commentary tremendously in spite of my possessing almost no knowledge of or interest in the subject matter).
An aside: in writing this post, I came across this Chick Hearn quote, uttered at the point in a game when it became clear the Lakers were en route to victory: "This game's in the refrigerator: The door's closed, the lights are out, the eggs are cooling, the butter's getting hard and the Jell-o's jiggling." I don't remember having heard the phrase before, but I'm sure Amir had, as its influence was clear in his writing style. Plus, I'd bet he got a huge fucking kick out of it and that makes me smile even now.