Will Leitch of SportsOnEarth.com ranks fans of the Portland Trail Blazers No. 2 on a list of the NBA's most tortured fanbases. The Cleveland Cavaliers rank No. 1.
Lots of factors are involved here: fan loyalty, historical success, particularly painful eras, near-miss title chances, current roster, any ineffable notion that just occurs to me while I'm putting this list together. I'm doing my best to give an honest accounting here: This ranking will get a lot better once all of you have had a chance to look at it and tell me what I got wrong.
2. Portland Trail Blazers (1977). Sam Bowie. Greg Oden. Brandon Roy. The sadness of the Jail Blazers. Absolutely brutal playoff losses. If they hadn't have won a title in my lifetime, they'd be No. 1 on this list.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers (no titles). Having their hearts ripped out by Jordan back in the day -- Craig Ehlo became the first real posterized legend -- feels relatively withstandable now that The Decision has happened, and LeBron has left, and the Cavs were left with a smoldering crater at the center of their organization. That they're slowly starting to piece it all back together is inspiring, and if -- maybe? maybe? -- LeBron could be coaxed into returning someday to fulfill what many had considered his destiny from birth, it could be the only thing that makes even the most adamant of critics embrace him. (Well, some of them anyway.) Cavs fans have been publicly punched in the face for about 30 years now. That they have hope now is both wonderful ... and potentially the cruelest part of all.
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter