'The Master Of Nicknames', Eddie Doucette Takes Home The Curt Gowdy Award
By caseyholdahl Posted in: Blazers
On September 7 2013, former Trail Blazers radio and television play-by-play man Eddie Doucette will be awarded the Curt Gowdy Award in Electronic Media, the highest honor bestowed upon an NBA broadcaster, as part of the 2013 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Springfield, MA.
Doucette joined the Trail Blazers in 1992 as the team's radio play-by-play announcer after being the original voice of the Milwaukee Bucks for that franchise's first 16 seasons. With Bill Schonely, the original voice of the Trail Blazers, moving to television, Doucette teamed up with color commentator Mike Rice for his first two seasons in Portland.
After calling the 1992-93 and 1993-94 seasons on radio, Doucette and Schonely switched roles, with Doucette joining Steve "Snapper" Jones as the television play-by-play announcer and Schonely returning to his original role alongside Rice as the team's radio play-by-play announcer. Doucette would work alongside Jones for the next five seasons calling Trail Blazers games before moving on to broadcast a wide variety of sporting events, both in the NBA and other sports.
With Doucette's upcoming induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and Schonely's induction in 2012, the Trail Blazers will have had 29 consecutive seasons called by a Hall of Fame broadcaster. And aside from both being Hall of Fame broadcasters who worked for the Trail Blazers, Doucette and Schonely share the distinction of having called the only NBA championships for their respective teams (Doucette called Milwaukee's 1971 NBA championship, with Schonely doing play-by-play during Portland's NBA championship run in 1977).
Doucette might be most well known for creating nicknames for nearly everything, from players to specific plays to places on the court. For example, he's credited with coining the term "sky hook" as a way of describing Kareem Abdul-Jabar's signature shot. Other terms from the "Doucette Dictionary" included "grilled cheese" (a player being double-teamed), "didn't draw iron" (an airball) and "land of the giants" (the painted area). Doucette's developed the terminology during his days in Milwaukee as a way of making the game more accessible to a fan base that had little knowledge of NBA basketball.
"I didn't have any choice but to be different," Doucette said in the November, 1992 edition of Rip City Magazine. "Ray Patterson was the Bucks' president, and when he told me I was the broadcaster, he said 'These people know nothing about this, so figure out a way to inform them and entertain them. Otherwise, you're gone in a year.' When I heard that, the fear of poverty became a motivator."
Even after establishing himself, Doucette continued to create descriptive terms and nicknames as a way of both entertaining and educating.
"He was the master of nicknames," said Rice. "He gave me the name 'The Wild One' and every player had a nickname. He had the best sense of humor on the air and he really loved to use it during games."
His creativity and voice allowed Doucette to work in broadcasting for more than 30 years, but it might have been the advice he got from his father that paved the way for his Hall of Fame career.
"I remembered something my dad told me," Doucette said. "He had a cooking show on NBC television for years. It was called 'Creative Cooking.' So he knew the business, and he said to me, "Be yourself, and nobody else. Don't be an imitator; be a creator.' Those words alway stuck with me."