FanPost

Contest Entry......Alaa Edition

This post definitely falls under the category of "Unhearalded Blazers".

The Blazers are my team.  They have been for 27+ years.  I have seen them play great teams like the Bulls dynasty in the 1990's, and I have seen them play awful teams like the Clippers......every year.  Most every Blazer fan loves the greats.  Drexler, Walton, Williams, Porter, Petrie, Kersey, etc. etc.  But much like we all appreciate players like Joel Przybilla and Nic Batum now days, there have been many many Blazers that had great contributions through the years that did not get love or recognition from the blogs or internet.

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See, back in the day, it took a true sports fanatic to know how many rebounds per game that Wayne Cooper averaged in the 1989 season (4.3).  But with the internet and the endless amounts of sports knowledge at our fingertips, you almost seem like a fool if you dont know Greg Oden's PER, or Brandon Roy's rebounding rate per 48 minutes.  Thats what makes unhearalded players from the '70's, '80's, and '90's so cool.  They are like the fresh new band that nobody has heard of, and when you break them out at a party people think you are some kind of basketball savant.  You can almost make a game out of it.........the mediocre basketball player game.

Outside of the Blazers, you have such gems as Sedale Threat, John Konkac, Rumeal Robinson, Blue Edwards, Michael Cage, Sherman Douglas, Marc Macon, Benoit Benjamin, Thurl Bailey, Judd Beuchler, Bill Wennington, Eric Murdock, Jeff Malone, Shawn Respert, Armen Gilliam, Kenny Battle, J.R Reid, and Roy Hinson.  And believe me, thats just off the top of my head.  If you see me at a party, dont try and battle me at the mediocre basketball name game.  Just don't try it.  Ever

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The Blazers have quite an impressive roster of unhearalded players.  30 years worth.  Some dont deserve praise, but there are some, and one in particular that deserve more credit than they have gotten.

In our first championship season, Dave Twardzik, Larry Steele, and Johnny Davis were instrumental role players that helped get us over the top.  In the early 1980's, players like Darnell Valentine, Kenny Carr, Calvin Natt, and Fat Lever taught a young Clyde Drexler how to become a professional.  But past the Championship season in '77, there have been two significant era's up to the point we are at now.  The teams of the late '80's and early '90's, and the teams of the late '90's through early 2000's.  The later was more of a collection of hired guns, so I will keep my focus on what was the glory years for most of us.  The teams of the early 1990's.

That core group of players was fantastic.  We give KP tons of credit for assembling the team we have now (and rightly so), but the team that we assembled back then was fantastic.  True star players (Drexler), great supporting players (Porter, Kersey, Williams, Duckworth), and insrumental role players (Ainge, Bryant, Robinson).  Kersey was a late round pick, and Duckworth and Williams were aquired through TRUE lopsided trades.  Every Blazer fan can probably name 80% of the players on those teams, but there is one man that has been lost in the shuffle, and I cant figure out why.

 

Alaa Abdelnaby a.k.a The Magic Carpet Ride.

Is it merely a coincidence that our second appearance in the finals happened in Alaa's second season?  I think not.  This Egyptian force brought a certain toughness and mystique that Charles Barkley said "was terrifying".  Michael Jordan was said to have even cried before games in which he would face the NW Naby.  Sure he only played two seasons with the Blazers, but the fact that Alaa turns boys into men cannot be ignored.  Clyde was just an athlete before Alaa's arrival and Porter could barely dribble the ball. These are facts.

Even from a young age, Alaa knew that his calling was leadership.  Sure the only A's he got at Duke were when he spelled his name, but Alaa was always more heart than brains. 

 It is even said that after a meaningless college basketball game between the Duke Blue Devils and the Kansas Jayhawks on February 18th 1989 in which Alaa's Devils destroyed the Hawks 102-77, Alaa took a young Kevin Pritchard behind the stands after the game and told him about a young boy in Seattle and a young boy in Texas that he had been having visions in his sleep about. Counfused at first, KP wondered why an opposing player would share his wierd visions with him.  They parted ways that night and Alaa and KP would go on to be drafted in 1990 and follow very different career paths. But even so, a young Kevin Pritchard never forgot Alaa's prophecy that day, and when Brandon Roy and Lamarcus Aldridge declared for the NBA draft 18 years later, KP knew what he must do.  I think it is safe to say that two of the greates era's in TrailBlazer history are directly attributable to one Alaa Abdelnaby.

 

So while we let Danny Young, Ennis Whatley, Lamont Strothers, Wayne Cooper, Adrian Branch, Richard Anderson, Craig Neal, Rolando Ferriera, Steve Henson, and Negele Knight drift into Former Blazers obscurity.  Do not let the same happen to Alaa Abdelnaby.  We owe it to him and we owe it to ourselves.

And if you are wondering what that AA tatoo is on Kevin Pritchard's bicep, I'll tell you this.  KP has never had a drinking problem.  Figure the rest out.

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