Sep 06

The Schonz' Gives Thanks At The Hall Of Fame

By caseyholdahl Posted in: billschonely

Bill Schonely, like any good broadcaster, spent the vast majority of his career talking about other people. So it's fitting that Schonely spoke almost exclusively of others during his speech thanking the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame for bestowing upon the legendary broadcaster the Curt Gowdy Media Award.

Schonely thanked Trail Blazers founder Harry Glickman for giving him the opportunity to be the first broadcaster in franchise history. He thanked Jimmy Dudley, his broadcasting partner during his days with Major League Baseball's Seattle Pilots. He thanked the former coaches and players who crossed his path during nearly thirty years of broadcasting, including Bill Walton, who was possibly Schonely's first broadcast partner during his Trail Blazers career. During a period in which Walton was injured, then head coach Lenny Wilkins, exasperated over Walton's inability to play through injury, told the center to "go over there and sit with Schonz.'"

"That whetted his appetite to get into the broadcasting business," said Schonely. "So he spent time with me, we worked on things, he got the great Marty Glickman and other people to help him. As time went on, he began to express himself more and more and better and better. And lo and behold, now that he can talk, we can't shut him up. I love him, Bill Walton."

Schonely also talked about another love, his wife Dottie, and spoke briefly of the difficulties of trying to being both a father and an NBA broadcaster.

"… You were out there, on assignment somewhere doing whatever event you were scheduled to voice, but the kids could always turn on the radio or watch television and say 'Hey, that's my dad.' I wasn't always there for each and every thing, but that was my life and a lot of the broadcasters' lives."

Talking of the sacrifices his wife and children made for his career were as close at Schonely got to taking credit for his induction into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. He spoke mostly of gratitude for the people and opportunities that paved the way for his winning the Curt Gowdy Award. He only mentioned his coining of "Rip City!" in passing and chose not to remind the audience "Bingo Bango Bongo" or "Lickety brindle up the middle." But in closing, he did get in his most famous piece of advice.

I came up with a phrase, not only, 'Rip City.' But I used to end the broadcast a lot of times with, 'You've got to make your free throws.' And that's true. I think I made a couple more."


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