Golden State Warriors vs.
KNBR Radio 68
Friday, November 25, 1977
It’s the day after Thanksgiving 1977, and Bill King is courtside at the Spectrum in Philadelphia as Rick Barry and the Warriors take on the formidable Philadelphia 76ers, who feature Julius Erving, Lloyd (World B.) Free, Doug Cunningham, Henry Bibby and Joe “Jellybean” Bryant (father of Kobe).
King, the nonpareil of Bay Area sportscasters, migrated here from Illinois and was the third man in the Giants broadcast booth when the team moved west in 1958. In 1962, he became play-by-play voice of the San Francisco (later Golden State) Warriors, a job he held for 21 years.
The game is being simulcast back to the Bay Area on KNBR/68 and KTVU-TV (Channel 2), with a balky video replay machine causing Bill King much consternation before he decides to discontinue relying upon it.
In 1966, King took the microphone for the Oakland Raiders, continuing in that role for two decades. In 1981, he moved into the Oakland Athletics’ broadcast booth (with Lon Simmons), a position he held for a quarter of a century before his death at age 78 on October 18, 2005.
His command of the language and ability to paint word pictures was matched by few in broadcasting, let alone in sports announcing; his rich, distinctive voice was instantly recognizable in a sea of carbon copies; his knowledge of sport — as well as music, food and literature — was boundless.
The rare and virtuoso talent of Bill King may have suited him well for announcing symphonies on a classical station. Sports fans should rejoice that he preferred greenswards and hardwood courts.
Bill King was elected to the Bay Area Radio Hall of Fame‘s inaugural class in 2006.
Golden State Warriors vs. Philadelphia 76ers (November 25, 1977):