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Bill Schonely Dead at 93

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Sad day. Had a couple beers with Bill several years ago at Langdon Farms and he was one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met. Blazer fans have lost an icon.

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Schonz was often seen in my hood up until about a year ago, drove a red Cadillac with RIP CITY on the license plate. I was just thinking I hadnt seen him in a while. I miss that old era of the Blazers.

 

RiP CITY Schonz! One of a kind.

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Doesn't seem possible. A part of Portland for decades who won't be forgotten.

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It's hard to explain how meaningful this guy was to me as a 12-year old listening to the 77 championship run.   Not only was he a huge fan of the game and team but he was a true radio broadcasting story-teller.  

 

Going into the Western Conference Finals against Kareem, et al., The Schonz captured all the drama of the David vs. Goliath storyline, possession by possession and game by game.  As the Blazers slowly asserted themselves, then gained confidence, then puffed their chests out and blew the doors off the Laker machine in a 4-0 sweep.....The Schonz, an audible Bob Ross, painted a picture of the Blazer unit as a amalgam of faith, grit, resolve and cunning that was the pinnacle of team ball of that era, the begining of the NBA superstar growth cycle.

 

Getting to the Finals was nearly enough for most of us after 6 years of mundacity.  We were the youngest squad, with the best coach and a team system set up to dominate for a decade.  We would be the next NBA western conference legacy franchise, replacing the worn out Lakers. So, the Finals was the proverbial 'gravy' on the meal.

 

But then, Darryl Dawkins, poked the Bear.  Chocolate Thunder picked the wrong guy to provoke, The Enforcer....Maurice Lucas....LUUUUUKKKKKKE!    Bobby Gross took the Dr. J challenge head on and Larry Steele vise-gripped George McGinnis...of course the Big Redhead was always there to clean up the mess if needed.  Walton's rebounding and defensive and outlet passing unlocked The Train and Johnny Davis on the break and Gene Shue still doesn't know what hit him.

 

Only The NBA Finals series was all televised.  Up until then it was only The Schonz on most nights. After the Blazers went down to the Sixers 0-2, I was convinced it was my fault because I had switched on the Volkswagen Beetle sized color tv in the living room and abandoned The Schonz.  Game 3, the TV stayed off, and the tide turned.  I didn't watch the TV broadcast again until I broke down in the 4th quarter of Game 6.  Going back to Philly for Game 7 was a deathwish.  The Blazers had to pull it out and I had to see it.

 

McGinnis clanked a jumper off the front of the rim at 109-107.....Walton skied above all one last time and tapped the rebound out to JD who dribbled out the final seconds.  CBS immediately shifted to the Western Open golf tournament.  Back to the radio where The Schonz narrated the locker room drama and the Trophy presentation.

 

We all knowhow things turned out.  What we thought was the birth of a dynasty was instead its Zenith.  The Schonz was the final tie to that *poof* of a dream season.  Now, like the fledgling dynasty, he is resolved to the Ethereal World.

 

Thanks Bill Schonely.....you painted your masterpiece for this young Blazer fan.

 

RIP....city.

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"You've Got to Make Your Free Throws'

"Bingo Bango Bongo!!!"

"Mercy Mercy Jerome Kersey!!'

 

I would lay in bed as a kid and listen to the Schonz tell me my bed time story. My beloved Blazers play by play announcer was a good friend.

 

😥

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During the time that Bill Sconely was doing the Blazer broadcasts my mother was working for a radio station. She happened to be doing a remote broadcast from Winchester Bay one day.  Bill just happened to be traveling on the Oregon coast at the time and was listening to her radio show. 
 

He stopped by, introduced himself, complimented her on her show, and then also agreed to briefly be a guest on her show. He was such a good ambassador for the Blazers. 
 

Classy guy. The Blazers were fortunate to have him.

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These are my unused tickets for the playoffs. 5 rows from the floor on the end, isle seats. Notice the price of the tickets. We actually got a refund for the unused tickets. Best sporting event my wife and I ever attended. Wonder how much those tickets would cost now days. They raised the cost of the tickets the next season $4 each which priced us out. Not sure why I kept these but they are fun to look at once in a while.

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My first born son was still only a couple months old during the '77 run. I remember  rocking him to sleep while listening to the Blazers on the radio.

 

I used to coach a problem solving team (Odyssey of the Mind) when he was in junior high, a decade and a half later.

In 1992, we qualified for a world comp which took place on the University of Tennessee campus, 

during the NBA finals. 

I had 6, 14 year old Blazer freaks on that team, and a Knoxville bartender (who just happened to be a Duck/Blazer fan), closed off the back room of his establishment so we could watch a game together. Watched on what passed for a big screen back then, and listened to multiple comments about how much more everyone would have enjoyed hearing the Schonz was the announcer.

Those were the days!

 

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     In ‘77 I was finishing a degree at Portland State, and living in an apt. building full of students I never saw. Schonz’s broadcasts of that epic run opened every door, and you could wander in to just about any place, have a beer and enjoy the game. Long before Portlandia, it was the Blazers and Bill Schonely who gave the city on the Willamette its real sense of identity. Thanks Bill

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Oh man, I knew this was coming at some point due to his age but it still doesn't make it any less sad. Had so many fond memories listening to him on the radio and tv broadcasts for all those Blazer games I grew up watching. Portland just lost an icon, I hope they put some kind of permanent memorial somewhere around the arena.

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My first live blazer game was against the Celtics, in the old Colosseum... Tommy Heinsohn was still coach of Boston at the time.

 

My buddy and I hung on every word with rapt attention, while huddled over our Sony transistor radio. My friend's Dad had season tix 5 rows behind the visitors bench for years. Good friends to have, eh?.

 

Bill was the epitome of classic!

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Bill was the greatest of ambassadors for the City of Portland and the Blazers. And for some reason, when I think of him, he reminds me of the wonderful city Portland once was. Such great memories. R.I.P. and God Speed, Bill Schonely.

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Key word DDuck. WAS!!

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