If you lived in Los Angeles and followed the local sports scene at all at any time during the last 30-plus years, you undoubtedly knew who Joe McDonnell was.
A fixture in the L.A. sports media scene, McDonnell was widely known and beloved throughout southern California, by both fans of the sports he covered and team personnel alike.
As news of McDonnell’s passing began to circulate on Friday, the Lakers issued a statement, with key members of the organization expressing the reasons he will be missed.
“For more than 35 years, Joe has been a regular at Lakers games and press events. Known for his quick wit and strong opinions, Joe’s love of and support of the Lakers has always been appreciated. Over all these years, our players, coaches, and staff have enjoyed working with and knowing Joe. He will be sorely missed.”
“Although Joe was opinionated and brutally honest in his coverage, I always felt he was knowledgeable and fair. He loved covering sports in our beloved city, and had a presence at every major sporting event. As both a player and executive, I enjoyed working with Joe since I arrived in town in 1981. I will miss seeing him at our games, practices, and press conferences.
As someone who grew up in Los Angeles hearing McDonnell’s coverage over the years, this news hits very close to home. The fact that an organization with the stature of the Lakers feels the need to comment on it just shows how ingrained McDonnell was into the L.A. sports scene.