We consume Blazer games in a variety of ways: in the Moda Center ("This is our house!"), on the radio ("Its a great day to be a Blazer!"), on the internet or TV ("All of a sudden, it's a two point game").
No matter how we take in a game we're all hungry for the highlights, action, analysis and the silly goofs and gaffes that make each game a unique event. A great way to collect all those moments for your memory banks is through social media.
An unlikely hero shoulders the game? Twitter blows up.
Someone finishes with a thundering dunk? We'll show you the Vine.
A superfan does something so outrageous you can't believe your eyes? Tweet a picture or it never happened.
The internet is a treasure trove filled with images, videos and stories that become available even as events play out. Follow along during the games to get stats and highlights from writers, the teams, and from other superfans. Refresh your timeline and you will find something to watch during commercial breaks. If you follow twitter during a game, you will probably find yourself laughing and crying, commiserating and cheering together with other fans.
If Twitter isn't your cup of tea, that's okay. Not a fan of Facebook? Not a problem. I'm going to make it easier for you to enjoy the fun, unpredictable and surprising elements that Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Periscope, Snapchat (and whatever the kids invent next week) bring to the games. And you don't even have to remember a single password to enjoy it.
Join me, won't you, as we go into the Twitterverse to re-live some of the most memorable moments of the 2014-15 season?
Today we will focus on two current Blazers, one who was already internet famous when he arrived in #RipCity last year. The other player might be the Blazer most responsible for last November's nine-game winning streak even though his minutes were severely limited.
He Kaman like a Wrecking Ball (and Landed on a Lady's Sweatshirt)
The sleeping giant
When Chris Kaman came to Portland he was already the subject of a popular internet meme.
One February night in 2014, in the middle of a looooong season with the Lakers, with only 8 players eligible to play that game, Kaman was worn out. His back hurt. The bench was empty and inviting. So the big man stretched out across the empty seats to rest.
Kamans couch pic.twitter.com/GeZ3GLxdnN— Artem (@nbarocksstc) February 6, 2014
Kobe was not impressed with his center laying down on the job, but the internet loved it.
Chris Kaman layed down on the Lakers bench...and got pinned by the Undertaker. pic.twitter.com/9CYsFWak3b— SportsNation (@SportsNation) February 6, 2014
See a gallery of Kamen sleeping images on SportsPro.
Kaman eventually woke up and signed with the Blazers as a free agent in the off season. As part of the package (along with Steve Blake) the Blazers also gained the gift of Chris "Kaman Like a Wrecking Ball."
Chris Kaman like a wrecking ball to #RipCity & hasn't looked back. The vanilla Sasquatch has quickly become a fan favorite.— Andy Johnson (@TheDirtJohnson) November 18, 2014
Laker fan Wade played homage to this excellently bad pun with a beautifully photoshopped image and tribute video. (Warning: Possibly not suitable for work if you don't want your co-workers to hear you listening to Miley Cyrus or watching a guy dancing in his underwear with Kaman's head photoshopped on him. But come on, you know you want to.)
On January 14, wide awake and in a Blazer uniform, Kaman lived up to his nickname by crashing right down the lane scattering Clippers like a . . . well, wrecking ball.
Kaman like a wrecking ball pic.twitter.com/B6Jrx7P378— Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) January 15, 2015
A few months later Chris gained internet notoriety again with this push in the back to Chris Paul. Watch carefully where Paul hit him right before Kaman retaliated.
Finally, saving the best Kaman-inspired tomfoolery for last, here is Sweatshirt Lady. There really isn't much more you can say about this.
Fan of the night pic.twitter.com/jy70zMa4XA— Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) March 31, 2015
. . . except to point out that it is double sided.
Overnight celebrity. pic.twitter.com/OMx9TfcZVW— Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) March 31, 2015
Meyers Leonard's Mustache
In November 2014 an unlikely star emerged . . . on Meyers Leonard's upper lip. After a ho-hum 3-3 start to the season, things started to click for the Blazers who ended up finishing the month 12-3 including a nine-game winning streak. To what can this dramatic improvement be attributed? Some say it was due to solid play by healthy players who were, for the most part, familiar with each other.
Or perhaps the good luck charm was Meyers Leonard's mustache.
While it had been growing for several days, fans didn't notice the shadow on Meyer's upper lip was actually a mustache until November 12, three games into the winning streak. Meyers had seen minimal playing time in those first three wins: On November 9 he played one minute and scored 0 points in the Blazer's 116-100 win against Denver. November 11 he had a DNP, coach's decision while Portland defeated Charlotte in a close game 102-100.
On November 12 in a rematch against Denver, Portland scored an incredible 84 points in the first half. Meyers had 5 points in 5 minutes. Viewers started to notice the ‘stache.
OK MEYERS LEONARD WITH A MUSTACHE— BLOGZI WELLS (@pdxroundball) November 13, 2014
There were some strong reactions.
I think I'm getting pregnant just seeing Meyers Leonard with a mustache— Daisy Alvarez (@snoopdayz) November 13, 2014
After the game, Meyers tweeted an explanation for the new look--he was growing the mustache for No-Shave November.
Don't people know it's No Shave November? Why the heck else would I be growing a stache? People gotta chilllll. It's not a fashion statement— Meyers Leonard (@MeyersLeonard11) November 13, 2014
November 15 was an important night for Meyers and his mustache. As the Blazers warmed up that night to take on the Nets, Oregonian/OregonLive photographer Bruce Ely confirmed the existence of the mythical mustache with photographic proof.
Due to a respiratory illness that had spread throughout the team, Meyers was inserted into the starting lineup to replace an ailing LaMarcus Aldridge. In a close game, Meyers Leonard and his mustache impressed the crowd finishing with 7 points, 1 assist and a career-high 12 rebounds in 30 minutes. The Blazers won their 4th game in a row, 97-87. It was his first win as a starter in 10 tries.
I am looking good tonight. #RipCity— M Leonard's Mustache (@mleonardsstache) November 16, 2014
Also on November 17, the Trail Blazers won their 5th in a row, 102-93 against the New Orleans Pelicans. Meyers had another DNP.
In a November 19 Oregonian article about No-Shave November, Meyers explained that he was growing the mustache to raise awareness of prostate cancer, in honor of his friend and mentor Kim Hughes who had battled the disease. Leonard also made it clear that the mustache was time limited. "I hate it," he said. "I have a baby face and it's ugly."
On November 21 the Trail Blazers met the Bulls in the Moda Center.
Look out bulls, I am in the game!!! #PORvsCHI— Meyers' Mustache (@Meyers_Mustache) November 22, 2014
Meyers scored 5 points in 12 minutes including a 3-point shot to reach 100 points.
Meyers Leonard hits his 3-point quota for the night AND he's our McDonald's 100-Point Play man! pic.twitter.com/YUD2buwEDl— Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) November 22, 2014
The Blazers defeated the Bulls 105-87 and extended their winning streak to six.
The team would win three more games with Meyers on the bench. As the Blazers gained relevance and respect in the crowded Western Conference, Meyers was the model bench player, working hard in practice and always ready to be "next man up."
The Blazers are 7-0 since Meyers Leonard started growing his mustache. Coincidence? I think not.— Scott Dally (@ScottDally) November 24, 2014
On the eve of Thanksgiving, the Blazers won their 9th game in a row defeating the Hornets 105-97. Only 15 days before, the Blazers came roaring back from 23 points down to survive a two-point victory over the Hornets. The rematch followed a familiar pattern--digging a hole in the first quarter and then battling back the second half. Aldridge had one of his worst shooting nights of his career, going 1-9 the first half, although he finished with 14 rebounds.
While Meyers stayed ready on the bench, his mustache happily took credit for the winning streak.
Although a few of the other players might say that they had something to do with the victories.
Lopez and Kaman combined for 27 points.
The bench was solid:
The team registered a Season low for turnovers:
Portland's eight turnovers tonight mark a new season low. #PORatCHA— Trail Blazers PR (@TrailBlazersPR) November 27, 2014
And there was Support from local Portlandia stars:He Kaman like a Wrecking ball and Meyers Leonard’s mustache
Blazers would have Thanksgiving off and their winning streak would end on Black Friday at the hands of the Memphis Grizzlies. Their 9-game streak was the best in the league at the time.
For Meyers Leonard's mustache, the writing was on the wall.
On December 1 the 'stache retired with a 12-3 record.
There were rumors of a comeback for the playoffs.
At that point, however, Meyers Leonard himself and his dramatic improvement had became a bigger story than his hairy lip. But that will have to wait for another day.