Monday, 24 Jun 2024

Legendary Trail Blazers Broadcaster Bill Schonely Passes at 93

Trail Blazers founding broadcaster Bill Schonely, known affectionately as “The Schonz,” has passed away at the age of 93, leaving behind a legacy that will forever be associated with the team and the city of Portland.

A Trailblazer in Every Sense

Born in Norristown, Pennsylvania, Schonely served in the Marine Corps before embarking on a distinguished career in sports broadcasting. He honed his skills in Seattle, covering a range of sports, including University of Washington football, Seattle Angels baseball, and the Oakland Seals in the National Hockey League. But it was his role as the voice of the Portland Trail Blazers that made him a legend.

The Voice of Rip City

Hired by team founder Harry Glickman as one of the organization’s first employees, Schonely quickly became the team’s play-by-play voice, calling over 2,500 games throughout his nearly 30-year tenure. He was there for the team’s thrilling championship run in 1977 and the exciting runs in the 1990s. Schonely became known for his memorable catchphrases, none more iconic than “Rip City,” a term that has become synonymous with the Trail Blazers and the city of Portland.

A Legacy of Excellence

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Schonely’s contributions to the game of basketball were recognized with numerous accolades. In 1999, he was inducted into the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame for his broadcasting achievements. In 2012, he received the Curt Gowdy Media Award from the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. But his impact extended beyond the broadcast booth. Schonely deeply valued his connections with the community and continued to serve as a Trail Blazers Ambassador even after his retirement in 2022.

Remembering a Legend

Bill Schonely’s passing is a profound loss for the Trail Blazers organization and the entire Rip City community. His warmth, wit, and love for the game touched the hearts of fans and colleagues alike. The Trail Blazers will honor his memory with a private service and a public celebration of life. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Providence Child Center and the American Heart Association, charities close to Schonely’s heart.

FAQs

Q: What awards did Bill Schonely receive for his broadcasting career?

A: Bill Schonely was inducted into the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame in 1999 and received the Curt Gowdy Media Award from the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2012.

Q: What catchphrase is Bill Schonely most known for?

A: Bill Schonely’s most iconic catchphrase is “Rip City,” a term that has become synonymous with the Portland Trail Blazers and the city of Portland.

Q: What charitable causes did Bill Schonely support?

A: Bill Schonely supported numerous charitable causes, with a particular focus on the American Heart Association and the Providence Child Center. In his honor, donations to these organizations are welcomed.

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Summary

The Trail Blazers and the entire Rip City community are mourning the loss of legendary broadcaster Bill Schonely. Known for his iconic catchphrase “Rip City,” Schonely’s voice was synonymous with the team and the city of Portland. With a career spanning nearly 30 years and over 2,500 games called, Schonely was there for the team’s championship run in 1977 and the exciting moments in the 1990s. Beyond his broadcasting accomplishments, Schonely deeply valued his connections within the community. The Trail Blazers will hold a private service and a public celebration of life to honor Schonely’s legacy. Donations to the Providence Child Center and the American Heart Association are encouraged in his honor.