Once upon a time in Rip City, the Trail Blazers’ presence in the postseason was a foregone conclusion. Jamie Goldberg of the Oregonian takes an in-depth look at how the Blazers made it to the playoffs for a record 21 seasons straight, a record only surpassed by the San Antonio Spurs in 2019. From 1983 to 2003, the Blazers underwent a great deal of change, explains Goldberg, but one constant was a competitive level of basketball. Following a period of dominance by the “Showtime” era Los Angeles Lakers, the Blazers were able to put together a team that took them farther than they had been since 1977.
Led by the dynamic backcourt of Drexler and Porter, the Blazers enjoyed arguably the best three-year run in franchise history in the early 1990s, reaching the NBA Finals in 1990 and 1992 and finishing with a franchise-best record of 63-19 in 1991.
“We were all competitors,” said Porter, whose No. 30 is retired by the Blazers. “Three of us — myself, Jerome, Kevin Duckworth — had come from small schools, so we played with a chip, we played with an edge every night. We played with a toughness and a sharpness. Buck and Clyde were the same way, they loved to compete, they took on those challenges personally, they wanted to be successful.”
That desire to compete followed the team into the 2000s. According to Goldberg, Jermaine O’Neal remembers how it helped shape him as a young player.
“It was about winning,” O’Neal said. “They had some of the best talent here and I understood that. That’s a culture that you want to be raised in. You don’t want to be raised in a losing environment because you grow losing qualities. You want to be raised in a winning environment and a first-class environment that allows you to understand what the pros are really about.”
You can read more about the 21 years of the streak here.