Mike Barrett (sportscaster)
- This article is about the basketball announcer. For the basketball player by the same name, see Mike Barrett (basketball player).
Mike Barrett (born 1968), also known as "MB", is the television play-by-play announcer for the Portland Trail Blazers of the National Basketball Association and the Portland Thunder of the Arena Football League. A former play-by-play announcer for the Portland Fire of the WNBA, Barrett has been the television voice of the Trail Blazers since 2003.
Mike Barrett was born in 1968 in Albany, Oregon, the son of a high school basketball coach, Duane Barrett. He grew up as a fan of the only professional major league team in his home state of Oregon, the Portland Trail Blazers, regularly attending games with his father.
Following his graduation from West Albany High School, Barrett attended Oregon State University (OSU), located about 10 miles away in neighboring Corvallis, Oregon. He graduated from OSU in 1991 with a degree in Journalism.
After graduating from Oregon State University, Barrett went to work for radio station KUIK-AM 1360 in Hillsboro calling high school basketball games. He became Sports Director at KXL-AM 750 in Portland, flagship station of the Trail Blazers, in 1992. While at KXL Barrett anchored the station's morning and afternoon sportscasts as well as working as a sideline reporter for University of Oregon football broadcasts.
In 1999, he was hired by the Portland Trail Blazers as radio studio host and editor of the Blazers' official magazine, Rip City Magazine. The next year he went to work as a radio and television play-by-play announcer for the WNBA's Portland Fire, a role which he continued until the team disbanded in 2003.
Barrett was named the play-by-play announcer for the Trail Blazers for the 2003–04 season, working for the first two years next to Steve "Snapper" Jones. From the 2005–06 season he has been joined by analyst Mike Rice on Blazer telecasts, an assignment which has often caused him to assume the role of straight man for his loquacious and unrestrained broadcast partner. Barrett has said of his partner:
"Rice is good, he's a character, and you strip away some of that cartoon character, and I'm so lucky to work with him. I think his calls are probably as memorable as anything I say. I like to give him that room. Some of the traditional broadcasters really want their own space, who get upset when their analyst gets in and steps on their call. I'm not into that. I want to be there to fill in the blanks and to provide some information and entertainment."
In addition to calling the play-by-play, Barrett and Rice frequently appear on a weekly radio and television show, Trail Blazers Courtside.
Barrett also writes voluminously for his blog on the Blazers' website, offering game reviews and a behind-the-scenes perspective on the team. Barrett recalled the origins of his on-line publication in a 2008 interview:
"The funny thing is that when the blog started at Summer League like 3 or 4 years ago, they said write some stuff for training camp, and that was kind of strange, but then they saw I could write in a real conversational way, that involved people. It was one of those odd things that you stumble into and all of a sudden you've created a lot of work for yourself. It's not a bad thing it's a good thing."I get wordy, I get long, I start writing. They tell me, 'just write a paragraph,' and I said, 'I get going, I can't.' The next thing I know I'm at 2,000 words. I've enjoyed sitting down after my kids and wife go to bed, sit down, and process through some things. It helps me remember the game better, it helps me realize it, the next time we play somebody, I remember not only the game but the blog. I can go back and review it if I want to."
"It takes a lot of time, as you know. To do something like that and to maintain it — I moderate 95% of the comments, I see them all, I put the picture up, I do the headline, it's like my own little newspaper. And that's pretty cool for somebody who was into journalism anyway. Writing has always been pretty easy. To sit down to write after a game or after an event, positive or negative news, it's almost my way of going home and unwinding and reliving it. I think a lot of writers would say that. That's my way of going home and coming down from the high of the night. * * *
- Mike Tokito, "Mike Barrett is a Link Between Trail Blazers and Fans in Portland and Beyond: Media Mike Check," The Oregonian, Oct. 28, 2014; updated Nov. 3, 2014.