By day, he's all talk radio as one of the voices behind KEX's Mark and Dave.? But the minute he puts down the microphone it's a mad dash to Rip City.?
At 6'9" he could pass for a member of the 1976-1977 championship team.? You can almost hear how they'd introduce him. "Hailing from Southern California, Mark Masonnnnn."
But in reality, it's Mason who does all the introductions. For more than a decade he's had a front row seat to the action as the public address announcer of The Rose Garden.? Just like a veteran guard working out the pre-season kinks, Mason's nerves still tremor before Tuesday's pre-season tip off. He gets all the way to his courtside seat before realizing he forgot his reading glasses in his car. Minutes later he notices he put honey in his coffee.
As Mason enters the complex, it's a handshake at every turn.? He knows everyone and everyone knows him.? He's guided Blazers fans through the action over the last 544 consecutive regular season games.? But it's pre-season he often finds most difficult.
"Pre-seasons hard because coaches put players in and out every time out and all of a sudden you've got four guys going in and four guys going out and who's going in for whom," explains Mason.
Mason considers himself the ringmaster of the Trail Blazers show.? In between the shots and fast breaks his voice is always there.? Echoing from the rafters of The Rose Garden we hear it.?
"This is our house. Get on your feet and pump it!"
While many covet his courtside chair, it's clearly a lot of work. Mason leaves his Southwest Portland radio studio at 6:00pm. After battling traffic he enters The Rose Garden by 6:20pm. He grabs his nightly script and begins to read shortly after 6:30pm. First its advertisements for sponsors, then team introductions followed by pre-season action. While fans are drinking beer and eating popcorn, Mason is busy moving through page after page of announcements.
Mark Mason has been through the good and the bad. He led the fans through last year's return to the playoffs. He also guided them through years of despair.? Every game and every player, Mason has welcomed them to the court; the wizard of Rip City's Oz.
"You want to give 'em the show. It's the NBA experience."