You can't ignore him. He's there. Sitting behind the Blazers bench side basket, wearing random t-shirts displaying the name that he has become synonymously known for, thanks to Mattress World owner Sheri Heiner, who spotted him at an event towards the end of the 2007-08 season, and said “I know you. You’re that free throw guy". So with that, Robert Ems became "Free Throw Guy".
Ems is a 28-year-old stock trader who has been a Blazers season-ticket holder since 2006.
According to Matt Calkins of the Columbian, who wrote an article on Ems, dated April Fools Day, 2011, statistics garnered via Elias Sports Bureau from the year prior to Ems being a season ticket holder, until last year, has affected the oppositions free throw percentage by as much as 6%.
In Calkins article, Ems has a non-fan base of not only Players, but Blazer fans that think he is annoying. Well he is apparently annoying enough to have gotten Amare Stoudemire a technical foul, in 2010. I guess the "wax on, wax off" approach and Ems chiding works! And he certainly is NOT as annoying as a loud mouthed Laker fan. An avid outspoken fan for all the right reasons should not be regarded as an obnoxious annoyance. His performance does not begin until the second half and only happens when the opposition is at the free throw line. Laker fans are obnoxious for the entire game.
If Ems is annoying, then is Dancing Bruce or the Dancing Lady? Why can't he be considered a prop, as per se: Blaze? I personally find it great to see such enthusiasm. The Gorilla mask fan, Darth Blazer, the wacky dancing kid with the headband and knee high socks, etc.
I find him amusing and entertaining. As a season ticket holder since 2007, I sit up in 319 and watch everything. I enjoy the whole ambiance of the Rose Garden, not just the game, itself. Ems definitely adds flavor. He is willing to put himself out there and I don't think it is for attention, for attention sake. He just found a niche and he is flying with it.
Rip City fandome comes in various forms. I personally say to Ems, "Hail to the Free Throw Guy, may he cost an opponent as many points in a game, as humanly possible." And to the naysayers, "Lighten up".
Btw, Ems, can I get a good stock tip?