Today’s Blazer’s Edge Mailbag covers the long perspective on the Portland Trail Blazers. If you have a Mailbag question to submit, fire it off to email@example.com! The pre-season will start soon so we’ll begin to get back into nuts-and-bolts topics. Make sure your question gets on the docket early!
Loved listening to your podcast with the Fanalysts this week. Gotta question for you since you’ve been a fan for a minute. What’s your favorite Blazer moment of all time? I think you’re gonna say winning the championship but your answers almost always surprise me and I’m ready for it.
I mean, sure? The 1977 World Title still stands as the greatest moment in franchise history. I cherish it deeply; it changed the course of an entire city and its passion for the game. Personally I was a little too young and new to the sport to regard that as my favorite moment of all. It’s on the short list but it didn’t come in the fat part of my fan bell curve. I suppose that honor would belong to the Clyde Drexler-Terry Porter team as they made the Finals in 1990. Knowing this team was really, really, honest-to-goodness going to play for a championship again had me walking three feet off the ground. The pinnacle probably came as they won Game 2 of the 1990 Finals in Detroit. (We won’t talk about anything that happened after. LA LA LA LA LA!!! :::fingers in ears:::) That whole era qualifies as a Big Deal to me and the first blush was the most memorable.
As I recounted years ago, I also remember vividly Jerome Kersey’s dunk in the Perfect First Quarter against San Antonio in the ‘90-’91 season.
It’s hard to describe this kind of thing to folks who didn’t live through it. There’s a huge difference between highlight/emotional moments replacing greatness and being part and parcel of greatness. There’s no substitute for watching dominant, efficient, amazing basketball for 82 games and a long playoff run. The highlights become the cherry resting on top of a well-supported, fundamentally sound and sustainable cake rather than a cherry dangling atop a toothpick jammed precariously into a pop tart. When you realize you’re watching the best basketball in the world being played against opponents who are geared up for your team, those monster jams and well-executed plays carry extra weight.
I have to tell you, though, Brandon Roy’s last hurrah against the Dallas Mavericks came pretty close to getting those classic juices flowing. I don’t think anyone who saw it will ever forget.
Congrats on 10 years and the anniversary! Has anybody asked you the predictable question about what’s changed since you’ve started? If so I haven’t seen your answer and if not I’m asking. What’s the biggest change between now and then?
Obviously everything has changed for the team. Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge were rookies when I came to Blazer’s Edge. Greg Oden was on the horizon. (Oh my gosh, that lottery night Open Thread was something!) I’m not sure we’ll see an era begin quite like that ever again. Hopefully we won’t see one end like that one did either!
Around the league three-point shooting and point guards are at their zenith. We were just moving out of the center-or-shooting-guard paradigm when I started. (By the way, that paradigm might have held on longer had Oden and Roy remained healthy alongside Aldridge.) Threes were exciting but only considered bread-and-butter for desperate teams.
The biggest revolution, though, has come in coverage of the sport. The Advanced Statistical Renaissance was in its early years when I began. We all learned together. People look at (and talk about) basketball quite differently now than they did then. Players are judged on different criteria. Once upon a time superstars were the national currency. Now hidden gems get everybody’s blood pumping.
Social media has changed NBA coverage as well. When I started everybody and their uncle was trying to get a blog going. Few of those were ultimately successful. The attempts have been replaced, in large part, by tweets and blurbs over various social outlets. (And podcasts. Woooo...so many podcasts.) Networks like ESPN were indispensable when I began writing. Now they’re perilously close to optional.
It’s not enough to talk sports anymore. You’d better have a good point and a great sense of your audience, otherwise you’re just one more voice in the crowd. Except that crowd no longer consists of two dozen blogs struggling to make it, but 20,000 individuals quite happy to chime in with their two cents whenever convenient then leave the party whether they visited an actual sports-related website or not.
All in all, I think this version of coverage is better. It’s smarter, anyway. If we tend to rely too much upon preconceptions we consider inviolable, well...we did that in the “old days” too. The preconceptions are better defined now at least, easier to see.
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