Wesley Matthews, former Portland Trail Blazers shooting guard, has penned a fond farewell to his Portland fans in The Players Tribune.
The plane was landing and I was staring out the window. I remember all I could think about was how green this place was and how many trees there were. Obviously I had visited Portland previously, while I was playing for Utah, but there was a different feel this time. So many thoughts were racing through my head. Where will I live? Will my teammates like me? Will the city like me?
As it turned out, Matthews had no problems with the latter issue, as Blazers fans embraced him early and anointed him a fan favorite as time passed.
The letter continues with a tribute to Portland's staff:
That's when I felt the love from Portland and that's when my love grew for the fans. Obviously, I am extremely grateful to Paul Allen, who had the final say in bringing me to Portland, and Chad Buchanan and Mike Born, who were the acting GMs at the time. I want to thank all three of them for believing in me. I'm thankful for all of my coaches and all of my teammates. I'm thankful for those who worked behind the scenes at the Moda Center and the practice facility in the past and present.
Finally Matthews turns to the fans:
To the fans — thank you! I know this is overdue, but I wanted it to be right. You all were amazing to me from the moment I landed in Portland to my last moment as a Trail Blazer, and I can't tell you what that means to me. I gave everything I had every night and I felt the same from you.
No doubt the Portland faithful will remember Wes just as fondly.
Thanks to AdoptedPDXfromNYC for getting this in the Fanshots.