My greatest moment as a Blazers fan: 1990 Western Conference Finals, game 6
The best childhood memories are never tarnished by time: the memories where you can recall where you were, what you were doing, and how you felt. As a Blazers fan from the age of 6, it's been moments of jubilation or disappointment that has left a lasting imprint on my memory. Unfortunately, in my memory vault, the affliction of devastating losses has often overridden the joy of inspiring victories. There was the 91' conference finals(game 6) where Cliff (playoff) Robinson dropped the pass out of bounds on a 3 on 1 fast break that propelled the aging Lakers to advance to the finals, the great debacle against the Lakers in game 7 of the 2000 conference finals when we blew a 13-point fourth-quarter lead, or game 7(first-round) in 2003 when the Blazers almost toppled the Mavericks to finish off an insurmountable 0-3 comeback before Nick Van Excel pierced our hearts with a barrage of 3-pointers in the fourth-quarter. Every rip-city rose has its thorns. Yet, my most potent memory as a Blazer fan that I can always cling to amidst the disappointment, the memory that has the transcendent power to momentarily dwarf all others, is game 6 of the 1990 Western Conference finals where we beat the suns to end our 14-year hiatus from the NBA finals. I was 10 years old and watching the game in our family's living room with my 14 year-old brother. We sat hunched over my parent’s couches for the entire second half, not bothering to turn the lights on when it got dark outside. I had to rest my eyes from the glare of the television during timeouts, as I sat with my head down and mind racing, thinking about what it would be like to make it to the finals. The turning point in the game was when Kevin Johnson, the lightning quick, underrated point-guard who was single-handedly destroying us the entire series, went down with a hamstring injury. Yet, the Suns kept it close, inspired by their veteran coach, the late Cotton Fitzsimmons, who, according the sideline reporter, told the team that if they could find a way to win the game, he would guide them to the finals. But the Suns weren't going anywhere, at least not without KJ. My heart started pounding as Terry Porter calmly made two free-throws to give us the lead in the last minute, which was followed by a Jerome Kersey layup after a Suns turnover. We took a 3-point lead into the final seconds, which culminated in Jeff Hornacek throwing up a desperate 3-point heave that flew off the backboard as the clock expired. As the final buzzer sounded, my brother and I leaped out of our crouched positions on the couch and started yelling and jumping around like a couple of wild kangaroos. Our celebration coincided with the Blazers storming the court. I was happy to see our coach, the normally reserved Rick Adelman, run and jump like an 8 year-old kid who just scored his first soccer goal. When I started following NBA basketball, at a young age, the Lakers were the evil kings of the Western Conference Empire. As good as the Blazers were in the 89-90' season, the idea of them dethroning the #1 seeded Lakers was still a remote fantasy. Beating the Lakers to advance to the finals would have been great, but beating the team that beat the Lakers was just as good.