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Trail Blazers Letter Hiring Bill Schonely Discovered, Donated

You can now read the words Schonely did when he and the Trail Blazers first came together.

Utah Jazz v Portland Trail Blazers Photo by Cameron Browne/NBAE via Getty Images

Fans of Portland Trail Blazers broadcaster and brand ambassador Bill Schonely will get a warm feeling in their hearts at a historic find by longtime Blazers Broadcasting team member Rich Patterson. Patterson tweeted a picture of the letter sent to Schonely in 1970, confirming his hiring as radio play-by-play voice for the team in their inaugural season. The tweet relayed the story of Patterson receiving boxes of material from Schonely as Patterson helped the Golden Voice of the Blazers move his personal belongings. As he was going through the material, Patterson found the letter in question.

Here’s the tweet if you want to read it directly.

Since Twitter (or “X” or whatever it is now) appears to be flagging the photo as “potentially sensitive”, here’s a copy of Patterson’s picture:

The letter, dated August 11th, 1970 and signed by General Manager Harry Glickman, reads as follows:

Dear Bill,

We are delighted in having you join the Trail Blazers organization.

Pending drawing up a similar formal agreement by our attorney, this letter will serve as confirmation that you will be employed by the Trail Blazers as our play-by-play broadcaster for the 1970-71 season. You will also work in our office in public relations and speaking capacities that will be of assistance to the club. Your contract will be for one year at a salary of $25,000. We will do everything possible to assist you in obtaining a car but I should state at this time that it doesn’t appear that we will have an automobile company as one of our sponsors.

Your travel, hotel and meal expenses will be the same as those paid to the players. We will also pay the expenses involved in moving your household effects from Seattle to Portland.

If this agreement is in accordance with our understanding please send me a note of confirmation.

Cordially yours,


Harry Glickman

General Manager

Schonely served as the radio (and sometimes television) voice of the Blazers from 1970 to 1998, then returned to serve in an ambassadorial capacity in 2003. He continued in that capacity, off and on, through the remaining years of his life. He passed in January, 2023.

Patterson indicates in his tweet that he has donated the letter to the Oregon Historical Society.