Top Stories

Bill Schonely Rumors

Bill Schonely (1929-2023)

Bill Schonely, the longtime Portland Trail Blazers broadcaster with a distinctive baritone who coined the phrase “Rip City,” died on Saturday. He was 93. Affectionately known as The Schonz, Schonely was the team’s broadcaster for its inaugural season in 1970 and held the job for some 28 years — including the team’s NBA championship run in 1977. He died in Portland with his wife of 31 years, Dottie, by his side, the team said. The cause of death was not released.
“The Schonz was a cornerstone of the organization since Day 1. He was the ultimate Trail Blazer — the voice of the Trail Blazers,” former Blazer Terry Porter said in a statement released by the team. “He was someone that Blazers fans grew up listening to for many, many generations. His voice will be missed, his presence will be missed, but his legacy will not be forgotten. It’s intertwined with every part of this organization.”
It’s been a rough few days for the Trail Blazers community, which lost two legends. One, former announcer Bill Schonely, a face of the franchise for decades. The other, a man whose name you probably won’t recognize but who brought you scenes from Blazers games for nearly 40 years. When Schonely died early Saturday at the age of 93, the Blazers franchise was already in mourning over the death of longtime baseline camera operator John Curry, who died unexpectedly late last week at the age of 65.
Trail Blazers founding broadcaster Bill Schonely has announced his retirement after over 50 years with the Trail Blazers organization as play-by-play broadcaster and team ambassador at the age of 92. Schonely, who coined many popular catchphrases for the organization including Portland favorite “Rip City”, was hired in 1970 by team founder Harry Glickman and served as play-by-play broadcaster for almost three decades. Schonely has served as a Trail Blazers ambassador since 2003 and has made appearances in the community in support of the team’s outreach mission. “Bill has been a fixture of the Trail Blazers organization since its inception and will continue to be forever engrained in this city,” said Dewayne Hankins, President of Business Operations for the Trail Blazers. “We thank Bill immensely for his 50+ years of hard work and everything he has given to our organization, the city of Portland and the entire NBA community.”
The Portland Trail Blazers 50th Anniversary presented by your local Toyota dealers and Spirit Mountain Casino will fittingly tip off the 2019-20 NBA season with a retro-styled preseason game hosted at Veterans Memorial Coliseum – home of the Trail Blazers from 1970-1995 and where fans witnessed the team’s historic 1977 NBA championship. The Trail Blazers will face the Denver Nuggets on October 8, with game activations mirroring that of a game from the team’s earlier decades. In addition to the throwback game elements, the team will wear their new Classic Edition uniforms and play on the new 50th Anniversary court for the first time – both of which will be key features throughout the rest of the season. Celebrating the start of the 50th season and reminiscing on the start of the franchise, members of the original 1970-71 team including Geoff Petrie, Rolland Todd, Jim Barnett, Shaler Halimon and Bill Schonely will be in attendance to honor Portland’s first team and ambassadors.
Jones was a three-time All-Star in eight ABA seasons, averaging 16.0 points in 640 regular-season games for Oakland, New Orleans, Memphis, Dallas, Carolina, Denver and St. Louis. He finished his career with Portland in 1975-76, averaging 6.5 points in 64 games in his lone NBA season. “Steve was as positive and good-natured a broadcasting partner as I could have had,” Blazers broadcast partner Bill Schonely said. “He loved to call me ‘Pops’ as a nickname, and we worked very well together on Trail Blazers games during some of the early years of the franchise. He was a terrific guy.”
Storyline: Steve Jones Death