After 13 seasons of hearing Mike Barrett and Mike Rice on the mic in Portland, the Blazers have scooped up longtime NBA broadcaster Kevin Calabro to call the team’s games, beginning next season.
Calabro worked as the voice of the SuperSonics for 21 years. When the team moved to Oklahoma City, Calabro stayed behind, picking up work for TNT, ESPN Radio, the Pac-12 Network, among others.
“It’s not often you get the chance to add someone of Kevin’s talent level to an organization, and we’re thrilled that he will lead our broadcast team as the new play-by-play announcer,” said Trail Blazers President & CEO Chris McGowan, via the team’s press release. “Kevin won’t be a stranger to Trail Blazers fans thanks to his deep roots in the Pacific Northwest, and his impressive career as a national broadcast voice for NBA and NCAA basketball.”
The Oregonian got in touch with Barrett a day after he was let go:
“I’m really, really thankful and really blessed,” Barrett said. “I know it sounds cheesy. Everybody rolls their eyes when you say stuff like that. In this work, they expect you to be angry and cynical. But I want people to understand I’m not mad. I’m grateful. I never felt entitled to a job like this, and the fact I had it for so long is an incredible blessing.”
Barrett said he has been overwhelmed with support the last 24 hours. His peers around the NBA have reached out to offer sympathy and encouragement. Friends within the organization have called to say how much they will miss him. He’s even heard from a half-dozen NBA referees. But he says the most touching — and “humbling” — response has come from Blazers fans.
The Blazers revamped their television and radio broadcast — Mike Rice and Antonio Harvey also were let go — because they wanted new creativity and a fresh “tone,” according to Blazers President Chris McGowan. Barrett says he was told, simply, that the team wanted to “go in a new direction.”
The Blazers are still in the process of searching for a color analyst to work with Calabro.