Trail Blazers legend Bill Schonely was sitting courtside when Bill Walton led Portland to its only NBA championship. 42 years later and Schonely is still waiting for the second championship. The Oregonian’s John Canzano sat down with Schonely to talk about whether we’ll see another Blazers title in his lifetime:
“Well, I’d like to stick around and see them win another one before I die.”
“But they’d better hurry up.”
It always gets a laugh.
Schonely is 89 now. Still working the concourse before home games. Still wandering the arena at halftime, shaking hands. Still, telling that same joke.
In addition to some serious discussion of the ticking clock of mortality, Schonely relays a happy-ending car story to Canzano:
Or maybe on the freeway, as the license plates on his red Cadillac still read, “RIP CITY.”
Someone pried one of the vanity plates off the vehicle a couple of years ago in a parking lot. Schonely called me. He was beside himself because he’d walked into the Department of Motor Vehicles to get a replacement and was told that the law required all stolen plates, even personalized ones, be retired.
The Trail Blazers front office made some phone calls.
It didn’t take long to find someone at the DMV who understood what keeping that phrase on Schonely’s vehicle meant.