I came up with this topic in response to an e-mail from Jamesbo (I assume that's the formal form of "Jimbo"?) who noted that I have often talked of a championship being the one truly important goal in this sport. In a nutshell he asked, "If you knew the Blazers weren't going to win a championship in the next ten years would you stop watching or like them less?"
My reply to that question is a definite "No". I certainly would not want to know ahead of time whether they would or wouldn't. But if they didn't, I wouldn't consider my time spent during the decade wasted, no more than I regret watching Clyde and company in the early 90's or Rasheed's crew in '99 and '00.
However if you told me this team was never going to win a championship again for the rest of eternity? At that point I think I'd consider picking up another passion. As much as I love them, it would be like pining after someone you consider gorgeous when you're stuck in the "friend zone". You can indulge for a while, but without any prospect of crossing the finish line the race becomes pointless.
That sparked another question in my mind though. Short of knowing that the Blazers would never win a title again, would anything cause me to break up with this team? I thought long and hard about that one. Obviously my bar is extremely high. I could only think of two possibilities:
1. If the team moved to another city I think that would be it. No matter how much I love Brandon, LaMarcus, Greg, Rudy, Nic, and the rest if they started wearing teal and maize and called themselves the Des Moines Trail Blazers the spirit just wouldn't be there. Don't even ask about them becoming the new Sonics.
2. If the Blazers let significant talent go for purely financial reasons--say refusing to sign Brandon Roy or dumping everyone else around him in order to pay for his contract--it would be hard to still consider them a competitive team. There's a certain small-town, farm-club mentality that this organization has fortunately never adopted. If it ever became obvious that we were on a different tier than the marquee clubs and were going to cement ourselves there because of financial considerations I'd probably consider exiting.
Short of those two extremes I'm pretty much here for the long haul. It would be nice if the Blazers didn't abuse that commitment but realistically I've stayed before when they have. I guess I'm a sucker for scarlet and black and childhood dreams.
So I ask you...do you have a "break up point" with this team? If so, where is it? Amidst the splendor of the New Era and the upcoming decade of probable title runs, is there anything this team could do to lose you?
A follow-up question: Since we're talking about potential crappy decisions, let's look backwards as well as forwards, the better to get it out of our system. What do you think is the worst move the Blazers have ever made and why? This could be a trade, an on-court matter, a hiring or firing, or anything having to do with the organization. What one decision stands out to you as the worst ever?
I know it's not happy, but I'm curious about your responses.