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[WHAT Podcast] How Basketball Unites Us

Tara and Cassidy review the latest games before welcoming three superfans with an unlikely friendship, united by a love of the Portland Trail Blazers.

NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves at Portland Trail Blazers Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

The Trail Blazers have reached the halfway point in their season and the NBA is weirder than ever. Tara and Cassidy take a look at the last three Blazers games, wonder if Jake Layman should get a starting role and if Noah Vonleh would still be making an impact in Portland.

Then we turn to the big question: can NBA players be friends? And how do friendships unite fans? We spoke to some superfans who have bonded over their love of the Trail Blazers even though they are 67 years apart in age! We had a wonderful time talking to Arinze and Charlene McGee and Soosie Byrne of The Golden Girls Who Love the Portland Trail Blazers.

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1:30 Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets, a rare home and home back-to-back: what did we learn?

6:00 More Jake? Moe Fun? What to do with the Jake Layman/Maurice Harkless debate?

10:30 Basketball is full of hard decisions.

12:00 An easy decision, firing Tom Thibodeau. Players don’t need to be yelled at.

13:00 If the Trail Blazers didn’t have Terry Stotts (and they couldn’t have Gregg Popovich) who would be a good coaching fit for the team?

15:00 Noah Vonleh was a good teammate and he’s doing well in New York

19:00 Basketball friendships! Can players be friends?

21:00 The ultimate basketball friendship: the Banana Boat crew.

22:00 Other basketball friendships: Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, Gerald Henderson, Wayne Ellington and Ed Davis, the Three Goggle bench mob, Rudy Fernandez and Sergio Rodriguez

25:30 PSA: Don’t forget to vote for Damian Lillard for All Star

26:00 Fan friendships, how basketball unites us.

29:00 Talking with Charlene and Arinze McGee and Blazer Fan Soosie of the Golden Girls Who Love the Portland Trail Blazers.

31:30 How they all met

34:30 Who are the Golden Girls Who Love The Trail Blazers?

36:30 Arinze diplomatically refuses to name a favorite Trail Blazer

40:00 Soosie’s house is Trail Blazers Disney World

43:00 Charlene became a Blazer fan when her family moved here from Liberia

46:00 Being friends and bonding over the Blazers allows us to see life in different ways and from different perspectives

48:30 Friendships formed around sports cross all sorts of boundaries

52:00 Game day routines

53:30 Arinze gives us a report on young prospects and star sightings at the Les Schwab Invitational

57:00 What would you tell your friends to get them to watch basketball?

1:04 Basketball bringing families closer too

1:07 Outro and reminders: donate tickets to Blazers Edge night, come to the next Blazers WHAT Meetup on January 13, vote for Damian Lillard for All Star!

Three friends from three different generations who enjoy the Portland Trail Blazers

Get Social

Follow Blazer’s Edge on Twitter @blazersedge, WHAT Pod @HoopsAndTalks, Tara @tcbbiggs, and Cassidy @CassidyGemmet. This week’s guests: Charlene McGee (@CAddyMcGee), Arinze McGee @ArinzeMcGeePDX and Soosie of the Golden Girls Who Love The Portland Trail Blazers.

Women’s Hoops And Talks (W.H.A.T.)

Join the Women’s Hoops And Talks Facebook group to talk about Trail Blazers with others who identify as women who love basketball.

Music used in the episode: “Happy Alley” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License