Trail Blazers radio broadcaster Brian Wheeler will miss his first game since joining the Blazers in 1998. Wheels will not travel with the team on their upcoming four game road trip that includes matchups with the Boston Celtics, Toronto Raptors, Brooklyn Nets, and Milwaukee Bucks due to illness. The severity of his condition has not been specified, though I suspect that a mere cold would not be enough to end his 1,359 consecutive game streak. The official release reads as follows:
For the first time in his 16-year career with the team, Portland Trail Blazers radio play-by-play voice Brian Wheeler will not be at the microphone when the team plays. Illness will prevent Wheeler from traveling with the team as it departs on a four-game swing against NBA Eastern Conference teams beginning Friday night in Boston. Prior to his illness, Wheeler had never missed a broadcast since being hired by the Trail Blazers in 1998.
In Wheeler’s absence, the Trail Blazers will temporarily simulcast audio from its television broadcast tandem of Mike Barrett and Mike Rice, with radio analyst Antonio Harvey added as a third on-air voice.
Thank goodness for Antonio Harvey, or radio listeners would be out of luck. For all their quirks (good and bad) Mike & Mike do a respectable job, but TV analysis is not intended to be a play-by-play. Those listening over the airwaves are more concerned with the action they are missing, not Mike Rice’s opinion on arena food of the Eastern Conference. Get well soon Wheels, the team and the fans miss you already.