Bill Schonely, finally healthy, talks Hall of Fame

PORTLAND — Nearly one month ago, former Blazers broadcaster received the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame’s Curt Gowdy Award — the highest possible honor for a basketball broadcaster.

Tuesday night, he was finally healthy enough to talk about it.
Just as Schonely got news of his Hall of Fame status, he was enduring the early stages of acute bronchitis, an illness that left him bed-ridden for weeks. There was a time where the 82-year-old said he was so sick, that he “didn’t know what was going on.”

“It felt like I had been kicked in the chest by a mule,” Schonely said.

But now “The Schonz” said he is “96 percent” healthy and finally able to take in the magnitude of the honor. Asked if this was the highest he’d ever felt in his career, the Mayor of Rip City gave an emphatic yes.

“As a broadcaster, absolutely,” Schonely said. “Dick Enberg called me, he’s in the Basketball Hall of Fame, and he said that if that (receiving the Gowdy Award) happens to you, that’s the pinnacle.”

Schonely spent 27 years as the Blazers broadcaster, joining the team before its inaugural season in 1970. He said his favorite call “was that afternoon in June” in 1977, when Portland won its only championship.

Among those who called him with congratulations were Marv Albert,
Terry Porter, Mike Breen and Kevin Harlan — and the Rose Garden jumbotron played a video that feature tributes from Bill Walton, Clyde Drexler and Rick Adelman among others.

Schonely was sporting his 1977 championship ring on his right hand Tuesday, and said he wants to stick around to see the Blazes get another one.

“So they better hurry up,” Schonely said.

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