Over at HoopSpeak, Danny Nowell, the latest writer at Portland Roundball Society, offers his first impressions of Portland and Trail Blazers fans after recently moving to the city.
It seems crazy that so intelligent a town would have fans like the Blazers do. The widespread lack of perspective here is positively Heinsohnian: fans still remember Rudy Fernandez not living up to "All-Star" potential, I have read a BlazersEdge comment saying Will Barton might be the next Allen Iverson, and every single time anybody eats anything with more than a dozen calories in it, a nearby Blazers fan makes a Raymond Felton fat joke.
Blazers fans' continuum of expectation and disappointment is utterly polar. Raymond Felton was a franchise point guard before he was the most reviled local athlete in recent memory. Damian Lillard is already being compared to Derrick Rose and Kyrie Irving in earnest. The team is either once again contending to add to its already considerable legacy, or it's losing because of a series of curses no other franchise could hope to understand.
Of course all fans are, at some level, irrational. But the disconnect between the intelligence of Blazers' fans and the degree of the irrationality is truly shocking to a transplant, even one who comes from a place where Tobacco Road fandom rules. And the better I get to know Portland, the better it seems to me I understand the pathology. Portland is a place striving to foster and reward thoughtfulness, where the ideas of random injury, vindictive ownership, and the whims of moody or introverted millionaires stand as an affront. Too proud to stop showing up, too naïve to get jaded, Blazers fans are locked in an ambivalent embrace with a team they can't seem to figure out whether to love or loathe.
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter