As I take in Mailbag questions a few get asked over and over that I don't usually respond to. I'm not being evasive, but they're either basic or personal or non-topical and I'm not sure they'd generate broad interest. I'm going to venture into one of those areas now. Every so often someone will ask who my favorite Trail Blazer of all time is. I have trouble answering that, not for lack of favorites but because I have too many! Most players of note bring something unique, or at least timely, to the table. It's hard to avoid appreciating that. As I grew up my favorites changed, sometimes from day to day. As I grew older my criteria for "favorite" changed also. As such, it's hard to answer with just one player to represent all times and moods.
That's why I've decided to split up this question into several eras and invite you to play along too. The first era we'll consider is pre-1983, also known as the B.C. era, "Before Clyde". Technically this should be two eras, pre- and post-championship but I didn't think we could get enough traction out of a separate pre-1976 post so we're lumping in the first six years with the next few.
I also want to separate each era into two categories: overall favorite and cult favorite. Sure, we'll have the understandable onrush of peak players from the championship team, but which more obscure player also won a place in your heart?
The format is simple. Name your popular/peak favorite player and your cult favorite (if any) from the era and explain why you liked them so well. If you old-timers want to list a pre-'76 favorite or two in addition, feel free!
As for me, my favorite player from the early Blazer years was Bill Walton. I was a little kid in that time and all I wanted to do was grow up to be 6'11" (not 7 feet!) with red hair and play center for the Blazers. Walton was an obvious pick for childhood hero, but heroes aren't heroes unless they're obvious.
As far as cult guys, I was always partial to Tom Owens, the center who stepped in when Walton went down and then departed. I guess I was fickle, because I assumed he'd just turn out to be the next guy to lead Portland to greatness. He did well but that whole second championship thing never panned out. It didn't end up mattering. I still have a soft spot in my heart for the guy.
What about you? Name your favorite early Blazers below and give us all an edjumacation in greatness!