With the 2020-21 regular season on pause of the All-Star break, The Athletic delivered a topic to debate for fans in the Pacific Northwest: who is the greatest player to ever come out of the state of Oregon? The Athletic’s Josh Robbins and Darnell Mayberry tackled the topic for all 50 states, listing five-time All-Star Kevin Love as Oregon’s most prolific player.
The Athletic’s duo described Love as follows:
“Winner: Kevin Love, who grew up in Lake Oswego, Ore., was the fifth overall pick in 2008 and started his career with the Minnesota Timberwolves. He won the 2010-11 Most Improved Player Award after he averaged 20.2 points, a league-best 15.2 rebounds and 2.5 assists in his third season. That season would be the first of his five All-Star selections. In 2016, Love teamed with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving to help the Cleveland Cavaliers win the NBA title. Love transformed his physique and his style of play early in his career, morphing from a heavier-set interior presence into a svelte sharpshooter. He also developed a reputation as one of the best outlet passers in league history, routinely dropping full-court dimes.”
It’s safe to argue that the debate wasn’t as hotly contested as some others. The group also mentioned a few other honorable mentions for Oregon. That list included Damon Stoudamire, Terrell Brandon, Danny Ainge, and A.C. Green—who finished as the runner-up and garnered his own segment in the list.
“Runner-up: A.C. Green, who was born and raised in Portland, gets the nod here largely because today’s load management era reinforces how incredible his NBA record 1,192 consecutive games played streak is. He played 16 years and missed only three contests, all in his second season. Green also won three championships with the Lakers, was named an All-Star during the 1989-90 season and an All-Defensive Second-Team selection for the 1988-89 season.”
Outside of Oregon, multiple Blazers players made appearances for other states. Clyde Drexler was named the No. 1 player to come out of Texas.
“Winner: Clyde “The Glide” Drexler, as he is affectionately known thanks to his high-flying dunks, played 15 seasons for Houston and Portland, winning a championship with the Rockets in 1995 as the team’s second-leading scorer behind Hakeem Olajuwon. Drexler averaged 20.4 points, 6.1 rebounds, 5.6 assists and 2.0 steals for his career. He made 10 All-Star teams and earned All-NBA First-Team honors for his 1991-92 season, the same year he finished second to Michael Jordan in MVP voting. Drexler also was a member of the prestigious 1992 Dream Team that won gold at the Summer Olympics in Barcelona. He appeared in 1,086 career games, and his No. 22 is retired in Portland and Houston.”
Drexler’s longtime backcourt mate, Terry Porter, was named runner-up in Wisconsin, after a decorated career that included a pair of All-Star appearances, two trips to the NBA Finals, and a top-10 finish in Most Valuable Player voting in 1991.
The last Blazers player to snag a crown was Lionel Hollins, nominated as the NBA’s greatest player from Nevada.
“Winner: Born in Kansas but raised in Las Vegas, Lionel Hollins was a starting guard on the Portland Trail Blazers’ 1976-77 championship team, its third-leading scorer behind Maurice Lucas and Bill Walton. One year later, Hollins was named an All-Star, finishing with a career-high 15.9-point scoring average. Hollins also was named to the All-Defensive First Team in 1978, as well as the All-Defensive Second Team in 1979. He played 10 seasons before getting into coaching.”
Multiple other Blazer greats, such as Damian Lillard, Rasheed Wallace, and Bill Walton, made cameos as honorable mentions. You can read the full article at The Athletic (subscription required).