My Life Behind the Mic: 43 Years with the Portland Trail Blazers
“Good evening basketball fans, wherever you may be…” In the midst of Trail Blazer season, we are pleased to welcome Bill Schonely, as he shares personal stories about life behind the mic, as one of the most well-known voices in our city. “Mr. Rip City,” aka “The Schonz,” aka Bill Schonely, was the voice of the Trail Blazers from their birth in 1970 through the 1998 playoffs. His 30 years behind the microphone was the second-longest tenure in the NBA to the late Chick Hearn, the legendary voice of the Lakers. At this Friday Forum, Schonely will tell us why “you’ve got to make your free throws.”
Bill Schonely is currently serving as the Trail Blazer family’s Founding Broadcaster/Ambassador, to the community. The legendary broadcaster was just recognized by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, with the Curt Gowdy Media Award, during the 2012 Hall of Fame reunion dinner in Springfield, MA. The prestigious award is presented annually to members of the print and electronic media whose longtime efforts have made a significant contribution to the game of basketball.
Schonely is the recipient of numerous awards for his long time participation in broadcasting and charity work. A native of Norristown, Pa., he served in the Marine Corps and did a sports show for Armed Forces Radio overseas before going to work for radio station KVI in Seattle. He was the voice of the Seattle Totems hockey team in the Western Hockey League. He also did University of Washington football, Seattle Angels baseball, the Oakland Seals in the National Hockey League and Major League Baseball’s Seattle Pilots. After the Pilots moved to Milwaukee in 1970, the Portland Trail Blazers came calling. Schonely is involved in helping support numerous charitable causes, including the American Heart Association, Life Flight and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and is a board member of the Providence Child Care Center Foundation.