McKinney leaves post with Sonics
Sonics executive vice president Billy McKinney has left the team after nine years with the organization. His letter of agreement with the team expired on June 30, and the contract was not renewed.
All I know about the man is from his undistinguished 3-year-run as the Sonics' color commentary guy. Nice enough fellow, but three years of obviously, painfully trying to keep up the spontaneous and improvisational vibe that Marques Johnson and Kevin Calabro once had was too big a job for him. Hell, it would be for most people.
His replacement, Craig Ehlo, aka "MJ's B!tch, 1987-1993" will likely fare no better. But this latest bit of housecleaning naturally got me thinking about the other forgettable keisters that have filled the Sonics' color commentary seat. Allow me, then, to run down my...
Bottom 5 Sonics Color Commentary Guys in the Modern Chunkstyle Era (1985-2004):
5. Billy McKinney. Like I said. Thoroughly undistinguished. He tried to work in the P-funk and Shaft references, but it was so obvious he was trying.
4. John McLeod. Probably best known as the coach of the Dallas Mavericks in the Roy Tarpley/Rolando Blackmon days. Like Rick Carlisle (#3), he was probably chosen for his comprehensive knowledge of the game, blah blah blah. My most vivid memory of him was his first TV game, where during the pre-game show, he couldn't quite get his headphones situated on his head correctly and kept fiddling with them. Finally he gave up with them sort of sideways on his head. He looked like someone's grampa trying out one o' them newfangled Walkboy thingamajiggers. "I can't hear a thing!"
3. Rick Carlisle. Coaching genius. X's and O's guy. Crashing bore. Not just zero charisma, but negative charisma that sucked it from those around him like a black hole. He might have permanently damaged Calabro's career had he stayed longer.
2. Bob Blackburn. I remember that he and Calabro used to trade off in the twilight of his broadcast career. I still adore the guy, but this was not his rightful position. What can I say? He was a play-by-play guy, not a color man. He just couldn't keep up with the youngblood KC. At least he had the excuse of being old--what was McKinney's?
1. Rick Barry. Sports broadcasters have it made when they coin a truly memorable catch-phrase. However, Barry's go-to phrase was "Paratrooper's Club"--a term he used whenever someone got pump-faked into the air. He'd scold them "Oh! Looks like someone just signed up for the Paratrooper's Club." You just knew he thought it was clever material, because he made a point of inducting a new member into his Paratrooper's Club at least once a quarter.
Despite what grovercleveland thinks of the guy, I think Barry's son Brent will make a fabulous broadcaster someday. Maybe after he gets a couple rings with the Spurs?