“RIP to the Very Best”: NBA World Mourns Heartbreaking Loss of 93 Year Old Legend Who Was in the League Since Wilt Chamberlain Era

Published 01/21/2023, 7:10 PM EST

The NBA world recently suffered a huge setback after the passing of Bill Schonely, one of the top sports broadcasting pioneers in the league. Schonely fulfilled the responsibilities of a play-by-play announcer for the Portland Trail Blazers from the franchise’s launch in 1970 until 1998. The legendary on-air voice of the Trail Blazers died at the age of 93, the cause of his death has not yet been determined. The saddening news has left the NBA world mourning the heartbreaking loss of the 93-year-old legend, who had been in the league since the Wilt Chamberlain era.

Popularly known as The Schonz, Bill Schonely was a part of over 2000 broadcasts of the Portland Trail Blazers games for nearly three decades. Therefore, naturally, his unfortunate demise has sent waves of sadness among NBA fans, who paid their tributes to the NBA legend with their heartfelt comments.

Fans mourn the loss of Portland Legend

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The Athletic’s Bill Oram reported the news recently on Twitter. In his tweet, Oram wrote, “A profound loss for every Blazers fan and Oregonian. RIP to the very best.” After the news of Schonely’s demise spread on Twitter, many fans shared kind words for the Trail Blazers legend who was famous for his unique catchphrases and deep voice.

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Moreover, Schonely was the one who coined the term ‘Rip City” which became synonymous with the city of Portland. One of the fans wrote, “Heartbreaking. A True class act and ambassador for the Rose City.”

Another fan wrote, “He left an impact on everyone he came across. Will be deeply missed…” Here are some other reactions from the fans.

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Many fans were left taking a trip down memory lane as they praised Schonely’s contribution to the game. Meanwhile, fans also offered condolences to Bill Schonely’s family and prayed for his peaceful journey in the afterlife.

Schonz came up with ‘Rip City’ against Wilt Chamberlain’s Lakers

The Schonz came up with the term when the Los Angeles Lakers came to Portland for the first time during the Trail Blazers’ first season. During the February 1971 game at the Memorial Coliseum, Schonely spilled “Rip City, all right!” after a long shot from former Portland veteran Jim Barnett against the Wilt Chamberlain-led Lakers.

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Back in 2015, Schonely revealed that the term came out of his mouth during a nerving situation in the game against the Lakers. Interestingly, the shot from Barnett helped the Portland Trail Blazers tie against the legendary Lakers during their first season. Thus, Bill Schonely’s absence from the NBA and the city of Portland would be dearly missed.

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Rohit Kumawat

582 articles

Rohit Kumawat is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. Currently pursuing an MBA in Media and Business Management, Rohit holds a Bachelor's degree in Journalism and Mass Communication. He has been working as a Sports and Entertainment writer for over a year.

Edited By: Satagni Sikder

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