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. 71 | Mark Mason and the Arena Team
Games Played with Blazers: A Lot!
Place in History: You might not know public address announcer Mark Mason on sight. (Rumor has it that his natural resemblance to George Clooney causes people to mistake the two frequently). You’d know him right away if he grabbed a microphone and piped up with, “From Weber State, wearing the letter ‘O’, Damiaaaaaan Lillaaaaaaaard!” His golden voice has kept arena fans informed of everything from technical fouls to, “Blazers win! Blazers win!” for more than a thousand games over 24 seasons. Whether you’re a season ticket holder or an occasional visitor, Mason has been the backdrop to most of the best in-arena memories of your lifetime.
Several PA announcers throughout the league distinguish themselves with catchphrases or a peculiar style. Mason has largely avoided that. Instead, he’s famous for words of welcome. From “The 6’8 great from Michigan State” through to Lillard’s current ovation, Mason folds something distinctive about the player into the introductions, melding their identity with the fan’s experience. International players are inevitably introduced in their own language, an incredible touch that underscores the idea that Portland is home to all of us.
Mason is among the most obvious of the Blazers’ arena production crew members, but the feeling extends down to the roots, more often than not. Portland games blend touches of locale, friendliness, nods to history, and strong production values into a relaxed, distinct welcome. From the people creating videos to the folks running sound to the ushers and vendors, the whole vibe of the Moda Center is simultaneously exciting and chill. With demands for service, security, and large-scale professionalism vying for primacy, it’s pretty amazing how they create that atmosphere game after game. We’ve all had not-so-great arena experiences. The frequency of good times in Portland shouldn’t be overlooked.
Technically, Mason earns a place on this list on his own for being the longest-tenured, publicly-facing figure in the organization (and for those wonderful introductions). 1000+ home games is nothing to sneeze at. Add in the arena staff as a whole, and #71 is more than deserved.
Discuss your thoughts and memories of Mark Mason or the Moda Center staff below, and check back every day as we continue the countdown to No. 1.