Bill Schonely, the original voice of the Portland Trail Blazers who famously coined the term “Rip City”, has passed away. He was 93 years old.
I visited Bill Schonely last week. Sad to hear the legendary broadcaster died overnight.
Great man. Great life.
Rest in peace Schonz.
— John Canzano (@johncanzanobft) January 21, 2023
Schonley served as the first radio broadcaster of Portland’s NBA franchise from the team’s inception in 1970 all the way through 1998. He was a team ambassador from 2003 through April 2022, when he retired from the role.
Nicknamed ‘The Schonz’, he was on the call for the Trail Blazers only NBA Championship in May 1977. He was close with Trail Blazers legends Bill Walton and countless others, including the late Jerome Kersey and Kevin Duckworth.
“Bingo-Bango-Bongo”, and “Lickety-Brindle-Up The Middle”, were two of the many memorable catchphrases of the loveable Portland voice, but it was his coining of “Rip City” that took a particular hold and did not let go, becoming the moniker of Portland as a basketball town.
Schonely gave countless memorable interviews in reflecting on his time as Trail Blazers broadcaster, the 1977 title run, and what the team, the city, and most importantly, the fans, mean to him. Many of those conversations were right here on 750 The Game with John Canzano.
Read Canzano’s piece on Schonely’s passing here.