The Portland Trail Blazers may have been knocked out of the playoffs, but that doesn’t mean that fans’ viewing enjoyment is over for the year. There is still a lot of NBA basketball to enjoy over the coming weeks. Perhaps your “other” favorite team isn’t in the playoffs at all.
It’s easy to talk about the team that you can’t stand. Maybe it’s a team that has some heavy playoff history with the Blazers, like the Los Angeles Lakers or Utah Jazz. Maybe it’s a team with an obnoxious fanbase, like the Houston Rockets or (recently) the Golden State Warriors. Maybe it’s a team with Doc Rivers as coach, like the L.A. Clippers or last decade’s Boston Celtics.
No matter the reasoning, we can always immediately go to the teams we hate. But we never really talk about the teams that we sort of like. Of course we’re Blazer fans, and we’re a special breed; a die-hard group that has seen hard times seemingly follow every good thing that happens to us and hasn’t had a championship parade in more than 40 years. If your a Blazer fan, you’re committed. It might feel uncomfortable to talk among ourselves and say “you know what, I like that team. Not necessarily their current roster, but the franchise as a whole.”
But there’s no reason to feel guilty about rooting for other teams (as long as they aren’t playing the Blazers, heretofore referred to as ALATNPTB), and we all have unique reasons for doing so. Maybe you grew up loving a player for another team.Maybe your buddy was a fan when you started getting into basketball. Maybe you just liked their uniforms. We’ve all got a team that’s second in our heart.
Me? If we’re keeping it out east, I’m a sucker for Atlanta Hawks basketball. Back in pre-League Pass 1990s, NBA action on TV was at a premium. But you could find Hawks basketball on TBS. Merely by giving me access to their games throughout the season, I became a moderate supporter. This was the same reason I grew up a massive Atlanta Braves fan despite having never stepped foot in Georgia; the games were simply the ones that were on.
I grew up with Dominique Wilkins, Kevin Willis, and Stacey Augmon. That was a fun group to watch in a time when Blazer games were limited on TV. I also really enjoyed the Hawks circa 2009. Joe Johnson, Al Horford, Josh Childress, and Jamal Crawford had an entertaining run together before they ran out of steam. Of course, the Hawks are terrible now, but I can’t help but find myself checking their box scores. I’ve just got a soft spot for them (ALATNPTB).
As far as the Western Conference goes, I always find myself rooting for the Phoenix Suns (ALATNPTB), and it’s a perfect example of the weird ways we get connected to sports teams. Sure they’ve had some solid teams over the years; most recently with the Steve Nash-led seven seconds or less offense. They even made an NBA Finals in 1993 behind Charles Barkley and Kevin Johnson, getting taken down by Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. None of that has anything to do with my Suns fandom (ALATNPTB). It’s all about this:
In case you don’t know, that’s Tom Chambers dropping the hammer from out near the 3-point line in Lakers vs. Celtics, a precursor to the NBA Live video game series. Inexplicably, Chambers’ double pump dunk was one of the most devastatingly unstoppable moves in video game history and years of using the Suns to crush my friends cemented them as my firm number two team in the West at a young age.
Who do you root for when the Blazers aren’t involved, and what drove you toward those other teams? Was it a player, a coach, or something different entirely? Let us know in the comments below!