Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Seen at Rose Garden Arena, October 17, 2012
My new seat as a sophomore season ticket holder affords me a great view of the action. I like it, sixth seat in from the aisle, front row, uppermost level, straight up from the right end of the Blazers' bench, facing the floor. Although according to the elevator, I'm on the 5th level up, prior to the pre-season home opener, I still managed with my zoom lens to get this photo of Portland Trail Blazers' legendary play-by-play announcer, Bill Schonely, and the Portland Trail Blazers' new head coach, Terry Stotts. It's obvious to me that they're glad to see each other and to be where they are in their lives.
About Mr. Bill Schonely, from Wikipedia:
Bill Schonely (born June 1, 1929), nicknamed "The Schonz", is an American sports broadcaster who was the first play-by-play announcer for the Portland Trail Blazers. A native of Pennsylvania, he worked in radio in Louisiana and Seattle before settling in Portland, Oregon. In addition to his work for the Blazers, he has also been a sportscaster for Major League Baseball games, several minor league baseball teams, college sports, National Hockey League games, and junior ice hockey.
Portland Trail Blazers
Early years In April 1970, Schonely was approached by Blazers co-founder Harry Glickman, whom Schonely knew as a founder of the Portland Buckaroos. Schonely was the organization's sixth hire. Said Glickman in a 2008 interview: "The interview only lasted a few minutes; he opened his mouth and I knew I had the right guy." Schonely moved to Portland to start with the team on July 1, 1970. Schonely's first task was to assemble a radio network, starting with Portland's KOIN as the flagship, and Blazer games were carried on six stations the first year. Schonely was not as familiar with basketball as with other sports, and had to work hard to learn the game, attending every practice early on. Schonely called the play-by-play on 2,522 Blazers radio and television broadcasts, from Portland’s very first preseason outing (September 24, 1970) to the team's appearance in the 1998 NBA Playoffs (April 30, 1998). Schonely's announcing streak was interrupted only once, when he missed the first 25 games of the 1982–83 season for heart bypass surgery following a heart attack. In 2003, Schonely returned to the team to appear in radio and television segments and act as a team ambassador at charity and community events.
Return to the Blazers
In 2003, Schonely was rehired by the Trail Blazers' new management, a move aimed at reconnecting with Blazers fans disenchanted by the previous management and players' off-court troubles. Schonely's role included hosting pre-game segments, "Memorable Moments" on television and "Blazers Flashback" on radio, plus appearances in advertisements and at community events. Team president Steve Patterson called the move "smart business" and intended to honor the team's past. The move followed general manager Bob Whitsitt's resignation in May. Asked whether he would have responded had the call come from Whitsitt, Schonely said at the time, "Probably not." On October 14, 2009, at age 80, Schonely returned to the microphone for the second half of a "throwback" exhibition game held at Portland's Memorial Coliseum, where the Blazers played from 1970 until 1995. The occasion was billed as a one-quarter tribute, but radio announcer Brian Wheeler let Schonely call the remainder of the game. Schonely's Trail Blazers business card reads, "Ambassador".
According to Oregon sportswriter Kerry Eggers, Schonely is considered by fans "the one constant link with Oregon's only major-league team." NBA trainer Ron Culp said of Schonely in 1990, "Bill Schonely is the symbol of the love affair the fans have with the Trail Blazers. ... He's part of their immediate family. Everything else with the Blazers have changed over the past 20 years, but you just don't mess with the Schonz." Schonely is often compared to legendary announcers Chick Hearn and Johnny Most, of the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics, respectively. At Schonely's induction to the 2002 Oregon Sports Hall of Fame, former Blazers center Bill Walton said: "Bill Schonely is as important to sports in the Northwest as Chick Hearn was to sports in Southern California. There are very few people in the history of Western Civilization who have had that kind of an impact." Walton also said: "Bill Schonely is the most important figure in the history of Oregon sports, with all due respect to Phil Knight and Maurice Lucas. Bill Schonely is the man who convinced people that sports are worthwhile." A restaurant in the Rose Garden is named in his honor, the Pyramid Taproom at Schonely's Place. The Trail Blazers organization retired Schonely's microphone on November 3, 2003. The 1992 Public Enemy album, Greatest Misses features the voice of Schonely calling Trail Blazer games on the track "Air Hoodlum."
Schonely coined or popularized numerous phrases and sayings during his radio career with the Blazers, which have become synonymous with the Blazermania phenomenon in Oregon, including "Rip City," "Bingo Bango Bongo," "Climb the golden ladder," "Lickety brindle up the middle" and "You've got to make your free throws." Schonely's best-known phrase, "Rip City", debuted in a game against the Lakers in 1970. The Blazers had fallen behind by a significant margin, yet rallied back to a two-point deficit. When a long jump shot by guard Jim Barnett tied the game, Schonely blurted out, "Rip City! All right!" an exhortation for which Schonely had no literal explanation. The Blazers lost 136–114 but the phrase stuck, became synonymous with Blazers basketball and even became a nickname for Portland itself. Schonely is also known for the opening line of each broadcast, "Good evening basketball fans, wherever you may be..." delivered in some variation since the beginning of his professional sportscasting career in Baton Rouge.
About Coach Stotts, from Wikipedia:
Terry Stotts (born November 25, 1957) is an American retired professional basketball forward and current head coach for the Portland Trail Blazers of the NBA. His most recent head coaching job was with the Milwaukee Bucks. Stotts was fired by the Milwaukee Bucks on March 14, 2007. Before becoming the head coach of the Bucks, Stotts was an assistant for the Golden State Warriors, head coach of the Atlanta Hawks, assistant coach of the Milwaukee Bucks, and an assistant coach of the Seattle SuperSonics. Stotts played in Europe for a few years before becoming a SuperSonics assistant coach. He also was the star player for George Karl's CBA team, the Montana Golden Nuggets, in the early 1980s. The Dallas Mavericks hired Stotts as an assistant coach in September 2008. The Portland Trail Blazers hired Stotts as their head coach on August 7, 2012. The announcement was made by General Manager Neil Olshey. Stotts became the 14th head coach in Trail Blazers history. At the time, his NBA coaching record was 115–168. Born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Stotts grew up in Illinois, Wisconsin, Guam, and Indiana and graduated from Bloomington High School North at Bloomington, Indiana in 1976. Stotts started all his four seasons with the University of Oklahoma Sooners basketball team and was an Academic All-American selection in his junior and senior seasons and an All-Big Eight Conference selection in his senior season. He graduated from Oklahoma in 1980 with a B.S. in zoology and a Master's in Business Administration from Oklahoma in 1988 on a postgraduate scholarship from the NCAA.