Moore: Wishing the best to Kevin Calabro, who set the stage for me at 710
You’ve probably heard the news about Kevin Calabro parting ways with the Portland Trail Blazers as their TV play-by-play announcer.
From an interview with Seattle Times reporter Percy Allen, it sounds like he’s hitting the pause button on his career to spend more time with his family.
I texted him Wednesday and he confirmed as much, never saying he was planning to hang it up for good. I’m guessing he’ll be playing a lot of golf in Chelan and taking part in other outdoor activities, too.
In the four years he spent in Portland, I gather that Trail Blazers fans grew to love him as much as Sonics fans did in his long run here. I was always partial to Bob Blackburn, the original voice of the Sonics who I listened to growing up, but quickly became a fan of Kevin’s after hearing how good he was and getting to spend time with him on the road when I covered the team in the ‘90s for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
Our paths crossed again in 2010 at 710 ESPN Seattle. He lost his job when the Sonics moved to Oklahoma City in 2008, and I lost mine when the P-I closed in 2009.
Initially, I worked with Kevin for one hour one day a week as part of a rotating team of guest sidekicks on the Kevin Calabro Show that included Dave Wyman. It grew into a daily role on a temporary basis. Dave Grosby was supposed to join Kevin on the afternoon show, but he needed to wait for his non-compete clause with KJR to expire.
Through a fortunate series of events for me, those plans changed. I had been told by former program director Owen Murphy that Grosby was going to replace me. I went home that day and walked upstairs to give my wife the bad news, humming the entrance song for “The Undertaker.”
But a week or two later, I heard that Groz was going to get his own mid-day show and that I would remain with Kevin. This happened in large part because Kevin Calabro went to bat for me.
Which is the main reason I’m writing this post. Yes, I want to congratulate Kevin as he enters semi-retirement or whatever he wants to call it. I also think this time off sets him up perfectly to be the voice of the Sonics again when the NBA returns to Seattle sometime this decade. At that point, Kevin will still be in his 60’s or early 70’s – he’s 64 now – and I’m guessing he’d be game to relive that dream.
We all know people who have helped us out in our careers. We don’t know where we’d be if they hadn’t. Kevin’s that guy for me.
If the sports radio thing had not worked out, I don’t know what I’d be doing. I thought I could maybe make a go of it as a freelance writer, but looking back, that was a flimsy proposition. My twin sons were 5 when the P-I closed, and I had no idea, really, how I was going to support my family.
In the beginning I was told that I was attached to Kevin’s hip. If he left to pursue other opportunities, I was a goner too. It was shaky at times. I knew Kevin was grateful to have the sports radio job but I also knew he missed the NBA and wanted to return to his first love.
When he finally did leave for good – whatever that year was – I didn’t know if I’d be leaving or staying, but apparently Kevin stayed long enough to give me a chance to earn my keep without him.
After he left, every time I heard him call an NBA game or watched him on a Blazers telecast, I thought about what he did for me. Good Golly, Miss Molly is right.