Unlike the Blazers, I've managed to stay clear of any serious affliction this season. Part of it is being new to the gig. Part of it is the tumultuous season the Blazers have had. Part of it is that Portland is unsettled just enough to have things to talk about but solid enough for all those things to really matter. But whatever inspiration I was drawing from ran out this week. I guess you might say I was falling prey to the pre-playoffs doldrums.
To try and find a remedy, I flipped through all of the articles I had written this year. Immediately, something jumped out at me. Not a single one focused on LaMarcus Aldridge. Not even half of one really. Of course, he's come up from time to time but never have I sat down and wrote something focused on Portland's best player.
I thought about doing my usual thing, pulling some clips together, combing through some advanced stats and trying to find a few nuggets I could add to the conversation. After doing some digging, I realized why I hadn't written anything about him yet. I would essentially be telling people things they already knew. Aldridge is really, really, really good. Aldridge is the Blazers' most important player. He's the keystone in everything the Blazers do. The team would struggle to make the playoffs without him. Yadda yadda yadda.
However, it seems a shame that I would go a whole season without spending some time appreciating the Blazers' workhorse. This is especially true considering how little love he gets from us fans relative to his influence. So, not wanting to rehash the obvious but hoping to show my appreciation for Aldridge and his incredible season, I wrote a poem.
I hope you enjoy it and please chime in with your own words of appreciation.
An Ode to Aldridge
Pivot on the right, plant with the left
Fall away, body straight, movement deft
Form picture perfect, helpless defenders left bereft
Your murderous intent
Clear as crystal, like the ball's descent
A turnaround so reliable
A jump hook so undeniable
Post game draws the double, makes the defense pliable
Open three from the corner, whoops, defense is gullible
These crimes on the court, in court you'd be held liable
Your dominance borders on madness, unjustifiable
But not long ago, before you seemed so masterful
Just another rookie, dwarfed by the promise of The Natural
Labeled skinny and soft, Buck's disciples wanted an animal
Cultural legacy a fickle thing, criticisms flirted with "irrational"
Overlooked once again
A boy picked last, a man picked second
Yet playing second fiddle, caught in the middle
Biggest draft since '84
Didn't matter you could score, fans drooled on the floor
For the second coming of Russell, finally forget Bowie and the Jor'
Cultural legacy once again
Your fickle friend
That dream fell apart around you, collapsing Blazers
Buckled knees, all subjected to the edges of razors
Suits donned the shoulders of the presupposed saviors
Basketball Gods and Lady Luck nothing but a pair of merciless traitors
How tragedy afflicts
Abandoning the man overlooked with a task impossible to fix
But someone who has beat death once knows a few tricks
And a heart that beats too fast can spare a few ticks
We all learned quick
From lanky to strong
From supporter to quiet captain
Now, our fearless leader
You grew up in front of our eyes
Those few doubters that remained, silenced in "Clutch City"
Ha! What a misnomer! What a pity
That your first victim was Terrence Jones, Portland born and bred
Looked like a boy amongst men in over his head
Too big, too strong, too good
The Turkish Goon, McHale said "Sic ‘em"
James Bond villain, you shook and stirred him
Too quick, too skilled, too good
A foundation built, a lead secured
Fourteen years of futility endured
You set-up the shot heard round the world
It can be easy to forget that
I am one of the guilty ones
Often taken for granted, only truly valued when lost
A simple swipe down, potential strip not worth the cost
You surprised us yet again, who still thinks he's soft?
Impending disaster on the horizon, you became a giant
Overcoming when average men would falter, straight defiance
The legend grows, now deserves a name that's true and timeless
L-Train? Already taken
LA? You play in Oregon
LaMarvelous? Please don't encourage ‘em
A man who's defeated death with such decisiveness
Brought his team out of the depths of darkness
Resurrected a city so ravenous
Can have but one name in my eyes — Lazarus
Rip City's Miracle
I know we'll get to the promised land one of these days
But no matter how this story ends we'll be able to say
"It's a great day to be a Blazer!" for as long as you play