Billy Crystal's next role: Guest analyst to honor longtime Clippers play-by-play man

Legendary Clippers play-by-play man Ralph Lawler, who will retire at the end of the NBA season after four decades with the team, is enjoying a season-long parade of tributes.

Former broadcast partners Mike Fratello, Hubie Brown and Bill Walton will serve as guest analysts to honor Lawler.

On Thursday, the Clippers announced another guest analyst, one with exactly zero experience — other than the decades of suffering with the team and the nine times he’s hosted the Academy Awards’ live broadcast.

Actor/comedian Billy Crystal, a Clippers season-ticket holder since 1985, will join Lawler to call the Jan. 31 game against the Lakers at Staples Center.

“They told me he really wants to do it,” Lawler said Thursday (via USA Today). “He has been a fan forever and he wants to take his time to pay his respects for my longtime service to the club.”

The Clippers’ most recognizable fan approached the team two months ago with the special request, Lawler says.

“Ralph is a fantastic broadcaster and a wonderful man,” Crystal told the Clippers’ official website. “I’m looking forward to calling a game with him. He’s a Hall of Famer in my book.”

The feeling is mutual, despite Crystal’s lack of experience on an NBA call.

“It will be a big game and the building will be electric,” Lawler said. “He’s done the Academy Awards for nine years, so he can handle our broadcast.”