Its a sad day to be a Blazer. One if the saddest in the franchises history. Bill Schonely passed away today at 93. A legend and friend to Blazer fans, a true champion of the people, his loss is profound. The impact of it will reach across a state, through a league, and beyond.

Schonely was the inceptive and definitive voice of the Blazers. Many of us grew up listening to him on the radios in our living rooms or bedrooms and later on TV with our families. He was a maestro. His iconic voice conceptualized for us the game at hand, bringing it alive in our minds eye. Every moment from an inbounds pass to a rebound made important and encapsulated.

I remember I had a tradition of going to store and getting candy and soda before some games and retreating to my room. I’d flip the nob and his voice would fill the room. I’d be taken away to another world for two and a half hours.

I’m glad I got to thank him for that. I met him at the Moda Center during a meet and greet some years ago with Rip City Two. When you read or hear about how compassionate and kind he was, how high he was held in such regard, he seems almost like a figure of tall tales, but he was the genuine article.

We talked about the then current Blazers season and his favorite memories with the organization, among other things. The moment that stood out though was when Bill professed to us how important it was to treat others with respect no matter their station. I know he made us feel just as important as he would have the players, the owner, or anyone else. I try to live up to that.

Schonely was the architect of Rip City. Harry Glickman might have founded the team, but Schonely branded it. He uttered those two famous words during a game against the Los Angeles Lakers, the Blazers first season, and they stuck like glue. Its a phrase and a nickname, but over the years it has become much much more…an identity.

Players, General Managers and team presidents have come and gone, but Schonely was there era after era as an announcer, a commentator, an ambassador and more. If there is one thing known across the history of the franchise, its him and his legend.

Bill will live on eternally in the hearts of fans, in the history of a franchise, and in the eyes of city that owes him the greatest gratitude. Now dang it Blazers, you’ve gotta make your free throws!

 

Editor-in-chief
Leave a reply

You must be logged in to post a comment. - Log in