Early Wednesday, Portland Trail Blazers president and CEO Chris McGowan announced that longtime television analysts Mike Barrett and Mike "the Wild One" Rice -- along with radio color analyst Antonio Harvey -- would be let go, and a new, unnamed announcing duo would take over the television booth next season.
Barrett, who attended West Albany High School and later Oregon State University, had been with the organization in a radio role since 1999 and took over television commentary duties prior to the 2003-04 season.
Former Blazer Harvey, who played with the team in a reserve role from 1999-2001, had been alongside play-by-play analyst radio Brian Wheeler since the 2005-06 season.
Rice formerly coached high school basketball for 13 seasons before coaching at the college level at Duquesne University and Youngstown State. In 1991, he joined the Blazers radio broadcasting team and stepped into the television color analyst role next to Barrett prior to the 2006-07 season.
Many fans have fond memories from Harvey's 11 years calling games for the organization on the radio and Mike and Mike's decade of service together as part of the Blazers' television broadcasting team.
Personally, I have a handful of favorite moments from listening to the team's broadcasts over the last 11 years -- working nights and away from a television set, I caught the entirety of the 2005-06 season on the radio -- but my favorite memories are almost exclusively owed to the unique chemistry developed between Wheeler and Harvey and Mike and Mike over the years.
Harvey, and to an even greater extent, Rice, had their own brand of quirkiness. Each delivered a slew of malapropisms and mispronounced player names every night, but were, in their own way, endearingly authentic. Listening to Wheeler laugh off Harvey's occasionally-overstated-but-never-disingenuous exuberance was a treat for 82+ games a year, and watching Barrett attempt to reel in Rice when he was on a roll was never short of entertaining, even if national viewers outside of Portland found the antics overdone and wacky; Rice was a goofball, but he was Portland's goofball.
My favorite Wild One anecdotes from over the years come from when he and Barrett would have to sell fans overpriced items from the fan store during a break in the game action in a segment called "Rice's Ridiculous Deals." Rice would almost always come equipped with an interesting take on the specific item they were hawking to fans, oftentimes donning the gear in comedic fashion and making outlandish statements as Barrett would attempt to keep the broadcast from going too far off the rails.
I recall at one point this season, Rice and Barrett were charged with hyping an admittedly expensive Blazers hoodie to fans over the air. Rice's take was, more or less, "this is a great sweatshirt, but maybe not for $75!" It's that type of earnestness and unpredictability for which I will always look back on the tenure of the Mikes with fondness.
What are your favorite Mike and Mike (And Tone!) memories from the last decade? Share yours in the comments below!