|Style||Sports radio, Sports play-by-play|
Brian Wheeler, commonly known by the nickname "Wheels", is the play-by-play radio announcer for the Portland Trail Blazers of the National Basketball Association and former host of a daily radio program.
Wheeler grew up in Southern California, where he was exposed at an early age to some of the most revered voices in sports broadcasting history, including Vin Scully of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chick Hearn of the Los Angeles Lakers.
Early broadcast career
Wheeler went on to work in a series of broadcasting jobs in Chicago, including time working for Northwestern University, the Chicago White Sox, and SportsChannel. He worked for the NBA's Chicago Bulls during their first championship season.
Wheeler moved from Chicago to Seattle, Washington, to take a job working for the Seattle SuperSonics, remaining there for two seasons, also hosting a radio talk show on the team's flagship radio station.
Career in Portland
In 1998, Wheeler came to Portland, Oregon to take a job as radio play-by-play announcer for the NBA's Portland Trail Blazers. Wheeler was placed in the difficult position of replacing broadcaster Bill Schonely, the team's radio play-by-play announcer since its inaugural season in 1970–71—a situation which he later likened to entering a "hornets' nest". Wheeler was able to put distance between himself and Schonely by adhering to the promise made to his new employers to call games "like a fan would call them". The resulting mixture of shrill "homerism" and forthright honesty soon found its niche with fans.
Wheeler is best known for his frenetic style, loud and passionate delivery, and trademark calls such as "BOOM-SHAKA-LAKA!" following energetic Trail Blazer dunks and hard to sink shots. During his radio broadcasts he's also known to call out energy driven lines such as: "Yes sir!", "Ring it up!" and "Ooh, that was nasty!". Whenever former Blazer Nicholas Batum made a dunk, however, he replaced his "BOOM-SHAKA-LAKA!" call with "BATUM-SHAKA-LAKA!". After the final play of each Trail Blazer win, Wheeler concludes by saying, "And once again we can say: It's a great day to be a Blazer!"
Wheeler's radio partner in the role of analyst was former Trail Blazer player Antonio Harvey, up through the conclusion of the 2015 season. Wheeler became the sole radio broadcaster in 2016, with occasional appearances from former Blazer Brian Grant.
Wheeler hosted a daily radio talk show on KXTG-FM 95.5 The Game called Wheels at Work(originally "Wheels After Work"). In September 2010, Wheeler announced that he would step down from the Wheels at Work radio show to spend more time working on the Blazers broadcast side of his life.
- "Brian Wheeler". NBA.com. Retrieved August 2, 2009.
- "Backyard Dreams Fulfilled: Brian Wheeler Honed his Voice for Years before Landing in Portland as the Voice of the Blazers". Portland State University Daily Vanguard. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved October 6, 2009.
- "Antonio Harvey". NBA.com. Retrieved August 2, 2009.
- "Wheels at Work". 955thegame.com. Archived from the original on February 27, 2009. Retrieved August 2, 2009.
- "Sports Broadcasting". Sports Management Worldwide. Retrieved 2010-06-06.
- "This school's all sports". Portlandtribune.com. Retrieved 2010-06-06.
- Brian Wheeler biography at Trail Blazers.com
- Peter Fornatale, "Extensive Interview with Portland Trail Blazers Radio Voice Brian Wheeler," Blazers Edge, April 15, 2013. www.blazersedge.com/