Mike Barrett is almost a full year removed from his announcing days with the Trail Blazers, and it is clear that he looks back at his 13-year career as a television broadcast voice in Portland fondly. Kerry Eggers of the Portland Tribune chatted with Barrett about how he is transitioning away from the franchise that employed him for over a decade, giving the fans of the former play-by-play announcer a glimpse of what his life looks like outside of basketball.
Despite the sudden nature of his removal, Barrett makes it clear to Eggers that he isn’t bitter toward his former employer.
"That frustrates people, but I'm not bitter at anybody, I'm really not,"
"That doesn't mean I'm happy about what happened, that I'm not heartbroken," Barrett, 49, says over coffee near his Tualatin home. "When you're stripped out of something that has meant so much to you, it's painful. There have been moments where I've been really down, but that does not translate into any bitterness.
Barrett explains that he understood that it was a privilege to have an NBA announcing job, but it is obvious that he still yearns for the days when he was behind the microphone.
"I'm still thankful for all those years. Not a lot of people get to do what I did. Not for one second did I ever feel entitled to have that job. I never had an agent. I would just go in, and as long as they were willing to pay me, I'd do it. I always had the attitude that when it ended, it ended. I didn't think it was going to happen when it did, but you adjust."
His lack of resentment toward the Blazers organization might come as a surprise to former listeners, but Barrett implores his followers to share the sentiment. According to Barrett, Trail Blazers President & CEO Chris McGowan was extremely professional when the team decided to move in another direction.
"The way it was handled was first-class," Barrett says. "Chris is a terrific guy. It's been hard for me to see, especially in the early going, him beaten up over this. He was always classy. No ill will at all toward him."
Kevin Calabro eventually took over the position opened up by Barrett’s departure. Barrett once again put his class on display by calling to congratulate Calabro on his newest endeavor.
"I congratulated him and said, 'You're great, it's going to be great,'" Barrett says. "He seemed a little surprised. He probably thought I was going to be angry, but I wanted to handle it the right way. I wanted to tell him best of luck, and no hard feelings on my part."
The fondness that Barrett has towards the Blazers appears to work both ways, as coach Terry Stotts still maintains a special relationship with the former announcer. Stotts has 223 regular season wins under his belt as Portland’s head coach, and all but 41 of those victories came with Barrett calling the action. When Stotts surpassed the 200-win mark this past season, he took the time to send Barrett a thoughtful message.
"Enjoyed sharing most of these wins with you," the text read. "I hope you and the family are doing well. All the best. Enjoy a great 2017. Terry."
"He thought enough to send that to me," Barrett says. "Those things meant a lot."
You can learn more about Barrett’s year away from the Blazers by reading Eggers’ extensive article at the Portland Tribune.