Legendary broadcaster dead at 93.
I almost cried reading about my favorite broadcaster of all time....the Shonz. I applied for a job with the Blazers in 1971 as they were just starting out with Geoff Petrie as their star. Their other star was Bill Schonely. Harry Glickman answered my letter personally. He had no openings but would keep my letter on file. I felt like this would be my chance to meet Bill. He brought game to you like no one else. “Petrie dribbles across the cyclops.” No one else would do that. I named my first and only dog after Bill. Schonely the dog loved sixteen years and died at our second home in Black Butte. Shonz read a letter I sent him in 1977 while he was calling a game against the Suns in AZ. He was so moved that I would name my dog after him. One of my biggest heroes. RIP Bill.
Thanks, John, for the wonderful tribute to Bill. Very well deserved. I was fortunate to spend part of my youth in Seattle, where I became a huge fan of Bill when he broadcast Seattle Totems minor league hockey games before he became a legend in Portland. Minors or majors, Bill always did a great job.
A life well lived. And we’re better for it. RIP, Bill.
I knew this day would come. I still was not prepared for it. Bill Schonely was a big part of my sports life here in Oregon. John, thank you for letting us know the sad news in the way you did. I am sure, not an easy thing for you to do.
As advertising director of The Oregonian years ago, I attended a sponsor trip to San Antonio. it was a real treat, spending time with the Blazer players, but the best part for me was a total surprise! There was a golf tournament and the pairings were done by the team so I had no idea who I’d be playing with. It turned out I was partnered with the Shona!! We rode together in the golf cart and laughed at our inabilities!! Spending 4-5 hours with someone up close like that you really get to know them. I’ve never forgotten what a gentleman and fun person he was. Later on, I retired to Charbonneau and became his neighbor!!
Well, damn. I’m 64, have been a Blazer fan from Day 1. The games weren’t on TV then. I cannot tell you how many times I listened to him calling games while growing up.
RIP to a true legend, Mr. Rip City.
Listened to him my entire life practically (I’m 50) until he was so gracelessly sacked by the Vulcans. Just such a great part of Oregonians’ lives for so long. So sad to see him go. I’ve never gotten used to listening to his successors, and really didn’t try to.
What a sad, sad day! I knew it was inevitable but it still pains me and I'll admit made me cry this morning. He was my connection to the Blazers when we moved to Oregon in 1972, I listened to every game in my youth, not a lot of TV games back then. I was very fortunate to have run across him multiple times and every single time he took the time to talk with me and make me feel like we were good friends. I actually wanted to be just like him when I grew up and even though it didn't happen, he is on my Mt. Rushmore of Oregon sports icons. He was the most beloved person in the state of Oregon, bar none. A little piece of Oregon died today. RIP, Bill you will never be forgotten, ever.
I shouldn't have been surprised to see this, but it seemed like Shonz would always be with us.
Being in grade school when the Blazers won the title, many of the games were not on tv. Bill Schonley was my window into Blazer games. It was amazing to watch the highlights at 11, and have felt like you had seen the plays already because of his description.
I still didn't realize his greatness till moved away and heard other cities play by play. Found out there were not many as good as Schonley- he was great.
Always felt bad about his retirement- even though Wheels did a great job replacing him.
Thank you John for honoring him through the years and reminding people of his legacy. I always enjoyed it when you had him on, even if he told stories we'd heard before.
Wonderful tribute to a wonderful human being. Thank you for your memories and beautiful words. And thank you for taking the time to visit a living legend of the Portland Trailblazers. We lost a friend today.
gonna miss the man and the by gone era. seems like our grandfather or best friend or mentor left us
Well done, John.
During a game when our company was invited to be in Charlie Sitton's box, I was sitting there enjoying the food when a hand was placed on my shoulder, followed by a "How are you doin tonight!?" I knew instantly who it was without looking. I turned around and Bill was there, dressed as dapper as ever. He didn't know me from Adam, but it felt like I was looking directly at an old friend, which I was. He worked the room (I think as a favor to Charlie) and was gone. But that brief moment, confronting directly the smile and warmth of a Portland icon, is something I'll never forget!
I remember texting into your radio show and suggested that he read “the night before Christmas” while you were interviewing him. You or your producers texted back “all you” after he accepted.
I don't remember the game; I don't remember the day; but the image of Bill Schonley, as Ambassador, graciously greeting people in the concourse of the Moda Center is imprinted in my mind. Rest In Peace.
John…thank you so much for your heart felt tribute to whom I believe is GOAT of basketball broadcasting at any level…Bill Schonely.