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Who’s your favorite center in Trail Blazers history?

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Bill Walton’s the only MVP Portland has ever known, but does that also make him the fan favorite?

Portland Trail Blazers: Kevin Duckworth Photo by Brian Drake/NBAE via Getty Images

Back in the halcyon ancient times of 2019, Blazer’s Edge ran a poll on favorite forward in the Trail Blazers’ 50-year history. Jerome Kersey won with a whopping 29 percent of the vote. Interminably, the Blazers are still playing their 50th anniversary season; in honor of this historic year let’s choose a center to join Kersey in the Blazers fan favorite hall of fame.

The nominees:

Bill Walton

There’s no doubt that Bill Walton is the best center in team history — no other Blazer, at any position, has won NBA MVP or sparked an NBA championship. After leaving Portland under less-than-ideal circumstances in 1979, Walton has found new life as a broadcaster and is once again beloved in the Rose City.

Kevin Duckworth

The Blazers acquired Duckworth from the Spurs for Walter Berry in 1986. Injuries to Steve Johnson and Sam Bowie unexpectedly pushed Duckworth into a starting role, where he thrived. Duckworth won the 1988 Most Improved Player award, made two all-star teams, and played a crucial role for the Blazers on the 1990 and 1992 Finals runs. All told, Berry for Duckworth goes down as one of the most lopsided trades in franchise history.

Arvydas Sabonis

On 29 other teams Walton would be the only possible answer to “who’s the best passing center you’ve ever had?” But in Portland the answer is up for debate. Sabonis may not have had much athleticism by the time he joined the Blazers as a 31-year old rookie in 1995 (let’s be honest, he couldn’t jump over a phonebook), but he still left a mark on the highlight reels with an uncanny number of jaw-dropping plays. Sabonis deserves some bonus points for playing through the “unusual” officiating of Shaquille O’Neal in the late ‘90s and early ‘00s.

Joel Przybilla

As the basketball emodiment of the old-school “bring your lunchpail to work” archetype, the Vanilla Gorilla stuck around in Portland for eight years and over 400 games. Perpetual injuries to Greg Oden thrust Przybilla into a full-time starter role for several seasons where he earned a reputation as a fan favorite, in no small part because of his willingness to mix it up with the Tyson Chandlers and Neness of the NBA world. Unexpected trivia: Joel is the Blazers all time leader in field goal percentage.

Jusuf Nurkic

Two words: Nurk Fever. Nurkic has only played 171 games for the Blazers but he already has a bevy of signature fan-endearing moments to his credit. The trash talk in post-game interviews, friendship with Damian Lillard, and unexpected appearance during a QUADRUPLE OVERTIME (I’m still not over it) playoff game have ensured that the Bosnian Beast will always be remembered as a fan favorite in Portland.

Honorable Mention: Robin Lopez, Channing Frye, Marcus Camby

Dishonorable Mention: Greg Oden, Chris Dudley

Poll

Who’s your favorite Trail Blazers center ever?

This poll is closed

  • 16%
    Bill Walton
    (152 votes)
  • 9%
    Kevin Duckworth
    (88 votes)
  • 49%
    Arvydas Sabonis
    (451 votes)
  • 6%
    Joel Przybilla
    (55 votes)
  • 14%
    Jusuf Nurkic
    (130 votes)
  • 2%
    Robin Lopez
    (19 votes)
  • 0%
    Channing Frye
    (2 votes)
  • 0%
    Marcus Camby
    (4 votes)
  • 1%
    Other (Please clarify in comments!)
    (15 votes)
916 votes total Vote Now