Broadcaster of the Week: Brian Wheeler, Trail Blazers
Posted Feb 9 2007 4:00PM
The refrain is the same for each of these broadcaster articles. We all know we have the greatest jobs in the world, calling the NBA on a nightly basis. The finest athletes in the world perfecting their craft game to game, and we never know if we'll see something on a given night that we may never have seen before, and may never see again. I've been privileged to be the radio play-by-play announcer for the Portland Trail Blazers for nine seasons now. It was always my dream to become a lead voice for an NBA team. There aren't many people that can say they've realized their lifelong ambition. I'm blessed to be able to say that I can.
During my time with the Trail Blazers I've had the pleasure of watching a lot of talented players. My first two seasons the club made it to the Western Conference Finals. The last few seasons have seen the team remake its roster for another title run in the near future. At the forefront of this season's effort to improve is rookie Brandon Roy. In fact, the Blazers are fortunate enough to have the best crop of rookies on any NBA team with not only Roy, but also LaMarcus Aldridge and Sergio Rodriguez. All were first round picks and all could be a part of the foundation of this team for years to come. But without question Roy is at the head of the class. I've dubbed him "The Natural" because everything seems to come to him so easily, and he's unflappable on the court, with a poise and maturity well beyond his 22 years of age. We could all see his immense talents back in the preseason, and I was convinced he was the best rookie in the league.
Then he missed 19 consecutive games with a stubborn heel injury, and it looked like he might be off the radar screen for good in his first season. But he's more than bounced back, and now is first or second in five different NBA statistical categories. He's in the top 10 in three others. Most nights he's been at the very least the second-best player on the floor for the Blazers, and on many occasions he's been the best. Head Coach Nate McMillan has frequently put the ball in Roy's hands in clutch situations, trusting that he'll do the right thing to help his team win, and more often than not, he's delivered. And fortunately for the Blazers, Brandon has turned out to be a winner off the court as well, embracing every opportunity to connect with the Portland community. Going all the way back to Draft Day last June, he wanted to become a Trail Blazer, and now he's helping to rebuild the outstanding reputation this franchise has long enjoyed. With all due respect to the other tremendous rookie talent in the league, including that on his very own team, Brandon Roy is in my mind the best there is. And as more people get to sample his talents in the second half of the season I'd make him the odds on favorite to become the third Trail Blazer in history to win the coveted NBA Rookie of the Year Award.
With guys like Brandon Roy around, something tells me I'll be enjoying the best job in the world for quite awhile longer. As a great philosopher once said, "The NBA...it's Fantastic!"
Brian Wheeler is in his his ninth season as the radio play-by-play voice of the Portland Trail Blazers. Wheeler's exciting style and trademark "BOOM-CHAKA-LAKA" dunk calls have endeared him to basketball fans throughout the Pacific Northwest.
In addition to anchoring the Blazers' radio coverage, "Wheels" also writes a monthly feature for Rip City Magazine and is a regular contributor to the Blazers.com website. He is also a featured speaker and emcee for numerous team functions.
Wheeler is in his 22nd year of broadcasting. Prior to joining the Blazers, he spent three years as a member of the Kings' broadcast team in Sacramento, serving as the team's pre and post-game show host as well as handling the play-by-play for a select number of games each season. He also hosted a popular and highly rated nightly talk show, "Wheels After Work" on the team's flagship radio station. He was also the original play-by-play voice on radio and television of the WNBA's Sacramento Monarchs.
Before his stint in Sacramento, Wheeler spent two seasons working in Seattle as part of the Sonics' broadcast group and also hosted a daily talk show on their flagship radio station. He also has NBA ties to Chicago, where he worked on the Bulls' radio broadcasts in their first championship season.
"Wheels" got his start in broadcasting in Chicago, earning a broadcasting/communications degree from Loyola University. He then spent nine seasons as the basketball play-by-play announcer on both radio and TV for his alma mater. His extensive experience in the Windy City also included broadcast stints for the Chicago White Sox, Northwestern University, and SportsChannel.