Trail Blazers Press Release

Bill Schonely Named Recipient Of Naismith Basketball Hall Of Fame's Curt Gowdy Award

02/24/12
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    Highest possible honor for a sportscaster is bestowed upon “The Schonz”
    PORTLAND, Ore. – Trail Blazers founding broadcaster Bill Schonely is the recipient of the 2012 Curt Gowdy Media Award, it was announced today by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

    The Gowdy Media Award is named in honor of legendary sports broadcaster and former Hall of Fame Board member and President, the late Curt Gowdy. The prestigious award is presented annually to members of the print and electronic media whose longtime efforts have made a significant contribution to the game of basketball.

    “We couldn’t be happier for Bill. He’s been one of the strongest pillars for our franchise since its inception 42 years ago,” said Trail Blazers President Larry Miller. “This is a testament to the impact he’s had on fans in the city of Portland and broadcasters across the country. From calling our championship run in the seventies, voicing the NBA Fan-tastic commercials in the eighties and his present-day work as our Ambassador, Bill has dedicated his life to this organization and the game of basketball.”

    “The Schonz” was the voice of the Trail Blazers from their first preseason game in Longview, Wash. in 1970 through the 1998 playoffs, calling 2,522 contests during that span. In 1971 he coined the phrase “Rip City”, which has evolved over the past four decades to describe the passionate fan base in Portland.

    “I am absolutely stunned. This is something I’ve only dreamed about,” said Schonely. “To be included with the talented individuals who have won this award in the past is an honor I can’t begin to put into words.”

    A three-time winner of the Oregon Sportscaster of the Year award, Schonely was named Oregon Broadcaster of the Year in 1995. In 2002, Schonely was inducted into the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame. Prior to joining the Trail Blazers in 1970, Schonely called games for Major League Baseball’s Seattle Pilots, National Hockey League’s Oakland Seals, the Seattle Totems of the Western Hockey League and the University of Washington football team. In 2003, he was honored as Oregon’s Sportscaster of the Year while calling games for the Portland Beavers.

    Sam Smith, the long-time NBA writer for the Chicago Tribune, won the Gowdy Award for print media. For a complete list of past winners, click here.

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