Nearly four years after he retired as the broadcast voice of the Utah Jazz, Hot Rod Hundley returned to EnergySolutions Arena on Saturday.
Hundley left the team after the 2008-09 season and, since then, he has been living in Phoenix and traveling the world.
"It's been good for me unbelievable," Hundley said about an hour before the Jazz beat Memphis, 90-84. "I've had a great run enjoying being away, having fun, traveling."
Asked where his journeys have taken him, Hundley laughed and said, "I've been everywhere. Last stop, I was in Rio de Janeiro. The next stop is Australia. People said, 'You've got to start spending your money.' So I am."
Hundley played for the Los Angeles Lakers from 1957-63. He was a two-time All-Star.
In 1974, Hundley became the broadcaster for the fledgling New Orleans Jazz. He followed the team to Utah in 1979 and, for the next 30 years, was one of the faces of the franchise.
In 2003, Hundley received the Curt Gowdy Media Award from the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame the only former professional player to receive such an honor.
Hundley's association with the Lakers resumed in 2010, when he was asked to join the team's broadcast team during the playoffs. He watched L.A. wins its 16th championship.
Making a fist and holding out his left hand, Hundley said, "The biggest thing about that is right here."
Smiling as he flashed a gigantic NBA championship ring, Hundley explained that he worked "â¦ seven games for them in the playoffs and we won it. So they gave me this ring."
How did Hundley get the gig, which the Lakers capped with an 83-79 victory over Boston in Game 7 of the Finals?
"They needed help," he said. "Some of the people were having problems and they said, 'We need you to help us out.' So I did. It worked out for me and worked out for them."
Although Hundley will always consider himself part of the Jazz organization, he formed a friendship with Dr. Jerry Buss, the later owner of the Lakers.
"I loved him, like all the other Laker guys," Hundley said. "He was really nice to me, even thought I was with other teams at times. â¦
"I remember, right here one night, one of the [security] guys wouldn't let him in [the press room]. He said, 'He can't go in there.' I said, 'What do you mean he can't go in there? Do you know who that is?' "
Hundley laughed and added, "He got in."
Said Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin, who visited with Hundley before the game, "Great guy. His one-liners. His approach to life. â¦ Nothing bothered him. He called it as he saw it. His word was his word. And he had a good time doing it."
Hot Rod back in Utah
• Former Jazz broadcaster Hot Rod Hundley attends Utah's 90-84 win over Memphis.
• Hundley started with the team in New Orleans in 1974 and left after the 2008-09 season.
• During his NBA career, Hundley played from 1957-63 with the Los Angeles Lakers.