Today I unearthed an absolutely epic tidbit from the massively underrated Tom Hoffarth of the L.A. DAILY NEWS in a profile of longtime L.A. sportscaster Larry Burnett.
(Don’t even THINK about touching that ’stache tho)
For the piece Hoffarth actually had the stones to confront Burnett, who was also an ESPN SportsCenter anchor in the third epoch of the Mesozoic Age, about his hairpiece.
Yup, he wears a hairpiece.
He tried for awhile to go without it while calling games for the WNBA Sparks. He grew a beard, went clean on the top, kept the hair on the sides. It was a nice look, but one he says came about only because he had neck surgery at the time.
“The older you get, the more difficult it is to get a job especially if you’re new at it. I just remember that the bald guy wasn’t getting a lot of work, not that the hair guy is getting a lot either.
“It’s a very psychological thing. It’s all in your head. Sometimes it’s less hassle to just go natural, but I do look younger. And when you look better, you feel better, so I do (the hairpiece) for a business standpoint.
“It’s a very subjective thing, wondering, ‘Am I doing it for me? Or for the audience?’
“I guess this business is so cosmetic, sometimes you gotta play that game.”
Now that’s a piece of serious journalism.
I don’t know who to be more impressed with: Hoffarth for going there or Burnett for being so candid. Great stuff.
While certainly a solid, accomplished broadcaster, Burnett always struck me as the sort of sad sack you see in every market. A TV/radio guy who always seems to be down on his luck. (I was in the club at one time and say that with all due respect.)
This comment from Burnett says it all about his approach to his career: “I just remember that the bald guy wasn’t getting a lot of work.”
In other words, there’s always an excuse for not getting the job. An excuse covering something Burnett supposedly can’t control. Baloney.
I do though have admiration for Burnett in sticking it out despite being passed over for countless play-by-play ops with the Lakers, Clippers and god knows what other teams. Dude is a professional, but there’s more to getting jobs than being on time, wearing a tie and hitting hard breaks.
The hairpiece is really a metaphor for Burnett’s career. For years he worked as the Lakers pregame and postgame radio host, hoping that when the play-by-play gig for the team came upon, he’d gain heavy consideration. But also consider that all that time he was working in L.A. for the most glamorous organization in sports.
While wearing a ‘piece. An obvious one.
About five years ago, Burnett lost the Lakers pre- and postgame gig and is now hanging on with his WNBA thing. For all the solid work he’s put in, Burnett probably does deserve better. But for that to happen, my first suggestion is to lose the toupe.
Now, how do we get Hoffarth on Marv’s trail?