Trail Blazers Front Office Message to "Honor Terry Porter" Supporters: "We agree with your assessment. And we are looking very hard at it."
* Channels Vince Vaughn from Swingers *
Oh baby, we are SO MONEY right now!
I am elated to present the following breaking news for the "Honor Terry Porter campaign." For the past month on this site, we have laid out arguments regarding Terry Porter's candidacy for jersey retirement.
During my conversation with Mr. Golub (scroll down the page to the next post to read Part I), the force of my conviction that Terry Porter deserves his jersey retired came bubbling to the surface and I simply couldn't contain myself.
I had to ask.
Are you considering Terry Porter for jersey retirement?
Mr. Golub was extremely gracious in agreeing to discuss the topic at length.
I would argue that Bedgers are the best at reading between the lines of anyone on the internet, so I will post the word-for-word transcript of this portion of our conversation. Dig in!
Blazersedge: Can you talk about how someone goes about getting his jersey number retired? Is that a decision that business operations gets involved in, a basketball side decision, or a Paul Allen decision?
It's a decision that teams take very seriously because this is a monumental, momentous decision. When I was with the Rangers, we retired Mark Messier's jersey. It's a decision done by senior management on both the business and basketball side that ultimately our owner endorses. It's a big decision.
[Smiles] Are you referring to anyone specifically?
Blazersedge: Actually, yes... But first, do you keep a short list of current candidates? Is that something that you would draw up or is it more of a spontaneous thing?
No. I mean we think about these things and plan in advance. These things don't just happen so we talk about them regularly and as a group decide what we think is appropriate. Yes, we are looking at some possibilities. Would you like to make any suggestions?
Blazersedge: Absolutely, now that you ask. Terry Porter, obviously, is an icon of the city. Drafted by the Blazers, played the bulk of his career here, had all of his best accomplishments here, I could go on and on and on. Has there been any thought that this coming year would be a good time to honor him-to connect that team, when Blazermania was really intense, to this team, given that the fan support is really coming back in full force?
We agree with your assessment. And we are looking very hard at that. And we're trying to decide the right time, but absolutely. Terry is one of the greatest Trail Blazers both on and off the court, he is just a total class act, one of the best to ever wear the uniform. Yes, we agree with that sentiment very strongly and we are talking about it really seriously. We are trying to figure out when is the right time to act on it.
Blazersedge: It's funny you say that because this week his name is being floated for various head coaching jobs. Does that make it more difficult when you've got to honor the opposing team's coach?
No, it happens all the time. A lot of the players are with other organizations so no, that's something you work around. We'll make sure we do it when Terry's here... if we do it...[laughing]... just like with Lionel Hollins, he was an assistant coach with the Grizzlies and we asked permission from the organization and they granted it. So you make it work. That's not going to be an issue.
Blazersedge: When I was coming up with criteria for jersey retirement, I came up with statistics, accomplishments, you've got impact on the community and then you've professional ties with an organization or a city. Is there anything missing from that formula or is there a formula you might use to assess a particular player or is it more of a gut check?
I think it's one of those things like the Hall of Fame selection-there's statistical criteria, there's off the court criteria, there's community involvement, there's how well their team did, there is what kind of teammate they were and in the end it's sort of a visceral decision too. There are a lot of players in Sports Halls of Fame that have lesser stats than players who aren't in there. Players who hang in the rafters here who don't have as formidable stats as others but they were such a key part of a certain special team.
And there are people who are so beloved by the community for who they are as people that they have a special place in the hearts and minds of the organization and its fans. I think in the end it's going to be really hard in any of these cases to apply a strict equation. I think the parameters or criteria that you outlined is a really good set and how you weigh those ultimately would require some degree of subjectivity.
Blazersedge: But it all goes up to Paul Allen? He's got the thumb up or thumb down?
It's such an important decision and one that will live on long after all of us are gone. It's a decision that we want to make sure our owner is comfortable making. So, yes. Some teams retire a lot of jerseys, some teams don't. There's no science but I think the organization has done a good job historically. The 1977 is well-represented and the teams in the 1990s will begin to become better represented in the rafters. I think we are applying the appropriate degree of seriousness and thoughtfulness around it because it's not a small decision. We are going to do it because it's the right thing to do not because it's an expedient thing to do.
Blazersedge: Are there financial benefits from doing that in the short-term given that there would be a lot of buzz around it?
We are hoping to sell out all next year so it's not a matter of selling tickets. In fact, there's a real cost to putting it on because we are going to stage it in a first class way. So, it's not about the finances. It probably has a neutral effect in the end. It's about doing the right thing and creating a special night for the people involved and for the fans and I think our fans want to see special things. They want to see a new drama every day, they want to see a new story unfold.
Much of that is what happens on the floor but a lot of that is what happens around the game. The 30th anniversary two years ago, Lionel's retirement, the heritage nights we did last year, all contribute to fans having a really special experience and so if we retire another jersey I think that would be a really special thing for people who are there, for people who are watching, and for the honoree. It's really for him and his family. That's the motivation.
Blazersedge: Is there anybody else you are considering right now?
[Long Pause] ... No.
Blazersedge: Very interesting.
... Remember where you heard it first...
As always, email me your thoughts and memories of TP.
-- Ben (firstname.lastname@example.org)