Kerry Eggers of the Portland Tribune spoke with the Trail Blazers’ new play-by-play announcer, Kevin Calabro, about his recent hiring on Saturday. Calabro, who remains in Oakland at this time to call Game 7 of the NBA Finals on ESPN radio, is eager to begin work with the Blazers after nine seasons without an NBA team to call his own, though he recognizes the mixed feelings of fans who lost three beloved broadcasters. In order to get off on the right foot, he laid out the circumstances of his arrival to preemptively set the record straight.
Calabro said he didn’t pursue the Blazers job. He said he was approached during the Western Conference semifinals by Chris McGowan, Portland’s president and CEO.
"Chris mentioned that he was contemplating some changes, and asked if I would be interested in talking to him," Calabro said. "And I was.
"Since the Sonics left (Seattle), I’ve had some solid offers from clubs, but all way out of town. I got to the altar on a couple of them, but could not say ‘I do,’ because my kids were still in school. It would have been very difficult on my wife and my family. I opted not to do it and watched that ship sail a couple of times."
Calabro is aware of the backlash from Blazer fans over the loss of the three long-time broadcasters who were relieved of their duties on Wednesday — Mike Barrett, Mike Rice and Antonio Harvey. He has seen charges that he was out to replace Barrett.
"There’s a perception that I was pushing for this job," Calabro said. "What I would like for everyone to know, I’ve been in Seattle since they left in ’08. I would not have waited eight years to get the Blazer job if that was my intent. This was purely a function as what happens in this league with management, players, coaches, broadcasters and so on. For whatever reason, folks want to make a change. When they want to make a change, it leaves a void, and it’s ‘next man up.’ That void is going to be filled.
"It’s unfortunate for the pros who were released. I’m sure they’ll land somewhere else. I’ve been in that situation before. When the Sonics left town, that’s as fired as you can get."
Calabro has been told he’ll have input on the person who will work alongside him as analyst. He has extensive experience with two terrific candidates — P.J. Carlesimo and Mychal Thompson — but said he doesn’t have "the slightest idea" who will be hired.
Click here to read Eggers’ full article.