The Portland Trail Blazers moved quickly in hiring a new play-by-play man for their game telecasts on Comcast SportsNet Northwest. One day after brooming out the broadcast team of Mike Barrett and Mike Rice, the team hired Kevin Calabro to be its new voice on television.
Though the Blazers fanbase is understandably upset about a beloved broadcast team being dismissed, Calabro figures to be a popular replacement, having spent a long time in the Pacific Northwest as the radio and TV play-by-play man for the Seattle Supersonics. Besides his 21-year tenure with the Sonics, Calabro also endeared himself to fans in the region when he turned down the opportunity to move with the team to Oklahoma City in 2008.
For the past two seasons, Calabro has been the lead play-by-play man on ESPN Radio’s NBA broadcasts. Overall, he’s been calling NBA games since 1983, landing his first broadcasting gig in 1983 with the then-Kansas City Kings. He has also provided play-by-play for TNT, TBS and NBA TV.
“I’m excited to join a great organization like the Trail Blazers that’s committed to excellence; is led by a devoted owner in Paul Allen; and is supported by the most passionate fans anywhere in the country,” Calabro said in an official statement.
“With two young stars in Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, a great group of teammates and a terrific coach like Terry Stotts, the Trail Blazers have an incredibly bright future. I consider it a privilege to live and work in the Pacific Northwest, and look forward to becoming part of this franchise and the greater Portland community.”
Current mood: pic.twitter.com/7lneslhSh6
— Blazer's Edge (@blazersedge) June 18, 2016
In addition to finding an analyst to pair with Calabro, up next for the Blazers might be finding a new home for their game telecasts. As Forbes’ Maury Brown points out, the team’s contract with Comcast SportsNet Northwest expires after the 2016-17 season, and there are rumblings that a move to Root Sports Northwest — which has wider coverage, thanks to carriage on DirecTV — could happen.
Root Sports Northwest views Portland as its second-largest market, and a broadcaster like Calabro — who is remembered fondly from his days with the Sonics, in addition to having a national profile from his ESPN work — signals the Blazers’ intention to increase their outreach into Seattle.