On Friday, the Portland Trail Blazers announced that veteran NBA broadcaster Kevin Calabro has been hired to replace the recently let-go Mike Barrett as the play-by-play announcer on their televised games.
For 21 years, Calabro served as the voice of the Blazers' I-5 rivals to the north, the Seattle SuperSonics. His energetic calling style gave birth to a number of still-familiar catchphrases in the Emerald City.
Choice bon mots such as "Flying chickens in the barnyard!" and "Let's get on a magic carpet ride!" filled the winter skies, and Calabro was arguably as big a part of the popularity and success of the Sonics in their '90s run as any player on the court.
When the Sonics moved to Oklahoma City to become the Thunder, Calabro notably turned down the option to move with the team. In big part because he didn't want to uproot his family while his kids were still in school, he stayed because Seattle is home. He's always viewed the city as a terrific basketball market and has tirelessly given to the effort to return the NBA to Seattle over the last eight years.
Named the Washington Sportscaster of the Year multiple times by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association, he's also kept busy since the Sonics' departure. He spent the first year of the newly-formed Seattle Sounders FC as their original announcer in 2009. He's covered football and basketball games for the Pac-12 Network. He's also frequently called national NBA games for TNT, TBS, ESPN, and NBA TV.
He's a day-to-day broadcaster at heart, though, and he's never lost sight of one day offering play-by-play for a single team again. Many thought (and hoped) that would be for a resurrected Sonics. Speaking to Casey Holdahl of the Blazers' Forward/Center, Calabro offered:
“People shouldn’t have any misgivings about me being a Sonics guy coming down there,” said Calabro prior to calling Game 6 of the 2016 NBA Finals. “The Sonics have moved on, I’ve moved on, it’s a new chapter and I’m excited to get going.”
"Good golly, Miss Molly!," indeed.
Details of the deal haven't been released, though we've heard it might be a 3 or 5 year contract.
We wish KC all the best in the new gig, but it's hard not to feel disheartened as a Sonics fan. Appreciate what you are getting, PDX. Best in the game.
Here's a taste: