Welcome to the refreshed Blazer’s Edge! To celebrate the new look and feel of our sports communities, we’re sharing stories of how and why we became fans of our favorite teams. If you’d like to share your story, head over to the FanPosts to write your own post. Each FanPost will be entered into a drawing to win a $500 Fanatics gift card. SBNation is collecting all of the stories here and featuring the best ones across our network as well. Come Fan With Us!
Instead of picking one Blazer’s Edge staffer to represent the site, we’ve decided to use this network-wide theme to allow you to get to know our entire staff better. Below are the stories of half of the staff, describing how they first came to follow the team. Later this morning we’ll introduce you to the other half. Enjoy the stories of Blazer’s Edge writers old and new!
As much as I hate to admit it, my journey to becoming an obsessed fan of the Trail Blazers starts on a materialistic note. I was an avid trading card collector as a child, and collecting cards from the NBA was my main pursuit. When I was around six or seven, Dairy Queen came out with its memorable series of Blazers themed drinking glasses, putting my love for trading cards on the table for what seemed like every meal of my childhood. Considering how young I was at the time of those great Portland teams, those players are larger than life caricatures in my memory, much like those glasses from DQ.
My actual fanhood began in earnest as I got a little older, when Arvydas Sabonis finally arrived in Portland. The glasses did come full circle, however, as my first year as a season ticket holder involved collecting a series of cups that featured the starting five from the 2013-14 season.
I have been a fan of NBA basketball for awhile now. I was sitting around watching the NBA Playoffs last year, a game featuring the Trail Blazers and the Warriors. I fell in love with watching Damian Lillard and how he makes it look so easy out on the floor. From that night on, I knew I was going to pay more attention to the Trail Blazers. The combination of Lillard and CJ McCollum made the Blazers a very intriguing and fun team to watch.
Over the past six months, I started studying the Trail Blazers and became very interested in how the whole operation worked. Shortly after, I decided to apply to write for Blazer’s Edge and here I am. The Trail Blazers are getting closer and closer to becoming a contender in the West and I couldn’t be more excited to see how it all works out.
My Trail Blazer fandom dates back to about 2000, when I was nine years old. My first Trail Blazers memory is watching the team I’d grown to love fall apart against the hated Lakers in Game 7 of that year’s Western Conference Finals. However, I have many fond memories as well.
I remember as a kid in summer camp receiving a newspaper clipping from my dad informing me that the Blazers had acquired Derek Anderson in a trade. I was ecstatic, having watched him play the previous year for the Spurs. I am the proud owner of both a Theo Ratliff signed jersey and Dan Dickau signed hat. I still have a Greg Oden Jersey buried in the back of my closet. When I was about 12, my grandpa gave me a DVD of Game 6 of the 1977 Finals, and I have watched it probably a hundred times. I have been to many a game live, and have seen some exciting moments over the years (Clyde’s number retirement, Roy’s game winner over Houston, and the Blazers’ beat down of Golden State in 2016, to name a few).
I’ve followed the team through good times and bad (mostly bad) with unwavering support. I dream that someday in my lifetime I’ll get to witness the team I love bring home another championship to Rip City.
With thousands of kilometres/miles between me (in Melbourne, Australia) and the closest NBA team, it was the 1993-94 Upper Deck NBA trading cards that ignited my passion for the Blazers.
In the mid 1990s (before the onset of the internet), we were mainly fed images and news on Michael Jordan and Shaquille O’Neal – and few others – via magazines and more infrequently on television. But when I came across a Clyde Drexler card I was curious.
At the time, a friend had a video tape (remember those) featuring highlights of NBA stars including the former Portland shooting guard. I was instantly a fan.
After a NBA hiatus around the turn of the millennium, the internet brought me news of Portland drafting Aldridge and Roy – the latter of which re-ignited my passion for the team.
And once fellow Aussie Patty Mills (how did we let him go) was drafted late in the 2009 draft I was in. Now, thanks to Blazer’s Edge I get to follow every aspect of this fantastic team and its passionate fanbase.
If you talk to any Blazer fans, one of the strangest events in the franchise's history was the 13 game winning streak in 2007. Back then I never really paid too much attention to the team. Sure, I fondly remember going to games with my dad, sitting in the rafters hearing the likes of Scottie Pippen throughout the whole arena, but I never really connected with the team. Travis Outlaw of all players made me become a fan after hitting a buzzer beater in Memphis.
My folks would pick me up from practice and we would have Brian Wheeler on the call. Out of nowhere, the team just kept winning, and winning. Once it reached 10 in a row I couldn't believe it. I would steal the morning paper from my dad so I could read the storylines and stats. It wasn't just Roy taking over either. Who is this James Jones shooting 5-6 on 3s? Man, Outlaw and Webster are really killing it at the end of games; they might have something. Hindsight at that age wasn't the best you might say.
Regardless, No one saw this coming. A team without one of its (gulp) future stars in Oden cruising past team after team in the most bizarre way possible. It's crazy to look back at it, but that is what brought me into Rip City.
I've been a Blazer fan as long as I can remember. I grew up in Gresham, and my earliest memory of watching Trail Blazer games was watching our run to the NBA finals in 1990 as an 8-year-old. The early '90s was an exciting time to be a fan, and with Clyde Drexler, Terry Porter, Jerome Kersey, Buck Williams, Kevin Duckworth, and Cliff Robinson, it was a fun team to root for. One nice memory I have from that era is collecting the Dairy Queen glasses. My parents actually still have all the old DQ glasses, and I make sure to use them when I visit.
I have been a fan of basketball since before my first memories. My father had played in the NBA and he had a major passion for the game, so I caught it from him. He loved the Blazers and watched them every chance he could. I took his Blazers enthusiasm and ran with it. Going to school with shoes that I couldn't play basketball in was a non-option, because at recess there was nothing else I would do. That pretty much continued throughout high school. It may have cost me a few girlfriends, but I have no regrets. My father was the person who showed me and taught me the game of basketball, but my idols and heroes were the guys on the screen. I dreamed about being them, I even tried to change my name to Hakeem. I was all basketball. 20 years later nothing changed. Basketball paid for my scholarship and brought me to my ultimate adventure-- a career playing professionally in Europe. I miss playing competitively, but I am still lucky enough to continue my ultimate passion, watching games and being a part of Blazer’s Edge
[ed. Raise your hand if you want to see “Hakeem Freeman” happen.]
Stay tuned for more stories soon, and don’t forget to create your Fanposts for the contest (it’d be cool to see a Blazer’s Edge reader win that) and/or share your own thoughts in the comment section!
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. SB Nation Why Are You a Fan Reader Sweepstakes starts on 8:00am ET on May 25, 2017 and ends at 11:59pm ET on June 8, 2017. Open only to eligible legal residents of the United States, 18 years or older. Click here for Official Rules and complete details, including entry instructions, odds of winning, alternative method of entry, prize details and restrictions, etc. Void where prohibited or restricted by law. Sponsor: Vox Media, Inc.