The Portland Trail Blazers are coming off of a thrilling series against the Oklahoma City Thunder, capped off by Damian Lillard’s 37-foot buzzer-beater in Game 5. Portland advancing to the second round of the NBA Playoffs without Jusuf Nurkic is an incredible accomplishment, and it has both fans and national media buzzing about the team.
Following Portland’s first round win, Aaron Mesh of the Willamette Week has put together 37 reasons as to why people should love the Blazers right now:
If you followed the Blazers this year, these are reminders of why we care so much. If you’re just tuning in, we hope to give you reasons to fall for this team.
Among the highlights:
3. Because Nurk showed up.
“It’s what turned the whole situation into a movie,” says Hurd, the Blazers TV analyst. “In the movies, the good guys show up, somebody comes back from the dead. That was a movie.”
7. Because the popcorn is so good.
Moda Center has the fourth-best popcorn of any NBA arena in the country, according to a true authority on the subject: Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry.
11. Because Aminu is bringing African art to Portland.
Aminu, who is descended from Nigerian royalty, opened an appointment-only pop-up gallery this year on Northwest Lovejoy Street with his wife to display their seven-year collection of modern African art. “We wanted to use our influence to shine a light on the incredible beauty, elegance and grace of Africa,” Helena Aminu writes on Instagram.
23-28. Because of everything that’s gone wrong.
Look, we don’t really want to go over all this again. You’re welcome to skip past it if it’s upsetting. But the sweetness of this victory only makes sense if you’re familiar with all the suffering. So much suffering.
29. Because Portland is happier.
So I spent last Tuesday night in a concrete bunker packed with 20,000 other humans. We cheered like idiots. I cried a little. I made sure to take a long look around to let it soak in—because you just don’t get to experience pure joy on that scale very often. When I judge myself for spending so much time on something so meaningless, I just try and think about basketball like it’s abstract art. Only I’ve never seen 20,000 people screaming and crying in an art gallery before. Go Blazers. CASEY JARMAN.
You can read all 37 reasons in Mesh’s piece here.