[nfbwatlk] OT - Bob Blackburn, former voice of Sonics, dies

Albert Sanchez albertsanchez at suddenlink.net
Sat Jan 9 20:11:23 UTC 2010

Thanks for the article about Bob B. Sure would like to hear the recording 
referred to in the article.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Mike Freeman" <k7uij at panix.com>
To: "NFB of Washington Talk Mailing List" <nfbwatlk at nfbnet.org>
Sent: Saturday, January 09, 2010 11:11 AM
Subject: [nfbwatlk] OT - Bob Blackburn, former voice of Sonics, dies

> Bob Blackburn, former voice of Sonics, dies.
> Bob Blackburn, the announcer who spent a quarter century calling Seattle 
> SuperSonics games and announced their 1979 championship win over the 
> Washington Bullets, died Friday. He was 86.
> He arrived in Seattle when the Sonics did in 1967, beating out more than 
> 100 other candidates who auditioned for the play-by-play job.
> It was hard for me to believe I was that important," he told P- I reporter 
> Dan Raley in 2006. I hate the word 'celebrity. I just had a wonderful job 
> connected to the public. Scott Eklund/P-I Bob Blackburn
> He was Seattle's first professional sports voice, arriving before Pete 
> Gross for the Seahawks and Dave Niehaus for the Mariners. For the first 16 
> years, Blackburn was the play-by-play announcer, color man and engineer.
> After the Sonics beat the Bullets in Andover, Md., Blackburn received a 
> championship ring with a large diamond in the middle and his name engraved 
> on the side.
> He survived open-heart surgery in 1983, and returned to the air with three 
> of his five major arteries unclogged. He was replaced by Kevin Calabro in 
> 1992.
> Blackburn grew up in the Los Angeles area, listening to Pacific Coast 
> Conference football broadcasts as an 8-year-old kid bedridden with 
> tuberculosis. It was there he imagined himself behind the microphone.
> He landed a series of jobs in California, playing music, reporting news, 
> calling games and building a r?sum? He worked his way north, handling 
> play-by-play duties for the Portland Beavers baseball team for 18 years, 
> doing college football on the side and meeting every celebrity imaginable, 
> with a photo of him and Elvis Presley together still a prized possession.
> After leaving his job as the Sonics' voice, Blackburn became a 
> professional auctioneer. He also led worldwide vacation tours, talking 
> people through 85 countries. When interviewed by the P-I in 2006, he was 
> the spokesman for a retirement community.
> Blackburn married the former Pat Hardin in 1948, and they raised six 
> children.In the past few years, he'd made periodic appearances as a Sonics 
> legend.
> At this age, most of my friends have had a voice change," Blackburn told 
> Raley in 2006. I probably would not be able to broadcast all the games. 
> But after 50 years, I think it still sounds the same.
> On the 25th anniversary of the championship Blackburn, forward John "J.J. 
> Johnson and retired Seattle Times reporter Greg Heberlein were members of 
> a panel discussion about the Sonics at the Museum of History and Industry.
> The discussion was produced, moderated and recorded by Feliks Banel, who 
> provided this recording.
> Information from the seattlepi.com archive is included in this report and 
> seattlepi.com reporter Greg Johns contributed. Casey McNerthney can be 
> reached at 206-448-8220 or caseymcnerthney at seattlepi.com . .
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