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Blazers Top 100: A Kiss of Spanish Chocolate at 97

A look at the 100 players and personnel that have influenced the Trail Blazers’ 50-year history.

New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets v Portland Trail Blazers Photo by Thomas Oliver/NBAE via Getty Images

The Trail Blazers’ 50-year anniversary season is temporarily on pause as the NBA goes on hiatus to slow the spread of COVID-19. During that break, Blazer’s Edge is counting down the top 100 Blazers: players, executives, and other influencers who made the franchise what it is today.

No. 97 | Sergio Rodriguez

Games Played with Blazers: 219 Regular Season | 5 Postseason

*PTS: 3.6 | AST: 2.9 | STL: 0.7 | FG%: 39.1

*Statistics are pulled from a player’s time in Portland

Joined Club: Traded to the Trail Blazers in the 2006 NBA Draft for cash after being selected 27th overall by the Phoenix Suns

Departed Club: June 2009, traded with Jon Brockman to the Sacramento Kings for Jeff Ayres

Place in History: At the 97th spot in our Top 100 countdown, we remember that the list includes players and influencers. Spanish sensation Sergio Rodriguez was both. His stats don’t even come close to recommending him for inclusion; 4 points and 3 assists on 39% shooting is hard to love. But nothing about Rodriguez was hard to love for Trail Blazers fans or supporters in his native Spain.

Sergio saw the court like few point guards before or during his era. His “Spanish Chocolate” nickname gave homage to contemporary Jason Williams, a walking playground highlight reel in an NBA uniform. Rodriguez didn’t have anywhere near that level of fame or influence, but he thrilled fans every time he touched the ball. Only in the last few years, with three-point shooting opening up the floor, have passes like Sergio dared to make become more commonplace. In a crowded lane, dribble-attack era, Rodriguez looked like a billiards trick shooter, threading assists through lanes nobody else knew existed. Fans were screaming daily for him to displace Steve Blake in the starting lineup next to Brandon Roy. Defense (he played none), turnovers (he had plenty), and chemistry with countryman Rudy Fernandez would keep him in a reserve role. Eventually the Blazers would give up on him as unteachable, followed in short order by the Kings, Knicks, and Sixers. He’d go on to have a long international career and remains among the most heralded guards in Spain’s history because of moves like this:

Discuss your memories or observations of Sergio Rodriguez below, and check back multiple times every weekday as we continue to countdown to No. 1!