Mesh: Looking Back At History Of Blazers' Chalupa Giveaway

Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Sports

One local writer takes a look back at the history of the Portland Trail Blazers' free Chalupa giveaway.

Last week, we reported that the Portland Trail Blazers and Taco Bell would be discontinuing their free Chalupa giveaway during the 2013-14 season, with a replacement program still to be determined.

Aaron Mesh of the Willamette Week takes a nice look at the history of the popular giveaway.

By the time the front office announced last week Taco Bell had ended the promotion, the chalupa was arguably the most popular member of the team. The giveaway provided casual fans with something to cheer about, and kept the crowd engaged during blowouts. (The team says it will soon reveal a new promotion.)

...

"That 2008-2009 team, those were the salad days of Brandon Roy, LaMarcus Aldridge, Sergio Rodriguez. I remember a game against the Utah Jazz; Travis Outlaw was at the line with 98 points. Hits the first one: 99. Misses the second one. No chalupa. Travis ran back and kind of held his head down a little bit. The guys on the team really wanted to be the guys who scored the chalupa buckets. It was a really sweet team. There was no one to make 'em feel like it was dumb to be happy about that kind of stuff." -Casey Holdahl, digital reporter for the team

...

"I said to myself, ‘Wouldn't it be great if we could just fill the Rose Garden up with homeless people? Then everybody would get a free meal tonight.' Obviously, that wasn't going to work. Then I said, ‘Why don't I just be the middle man on this?' I got as many volunteers as I could to stand outside and collect coupons, and redistribute them to outreach agencies. Not only to provide a warm meal for these people-using a chalupa coupon also made them a Taco Bell customer, which entitled them to use of the restroom." -Jessie Sponberg, activist

Mike Acker of the Willamette Week also offered some thoughts...

The next NBA season is a scant few months away. When the Blazers' season tips off at the end of October, the team and the organization may be almost unrecognizable to some. The makeover has a lot to do with bringing in almost an entirely new roster, but it goes deeper than a bunch of new faces and a bunch of new names: The 2013-14 Blazers have made a push to be a different team, and a different organization.

...

However the team chooses to spin it, giving up on giving away Chalupas is part of a larger whole. This iteration of the Portland Trail Blazers is undergoing significant changes, soup to nuts.

Reaction from fans on Twitter to the decision was posted right here.

-- Ben Golliver | benjamin.golliver@gmail.com | Twitter

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