The seven-time All Star thanks numerous names, from Jody Allen, people within the Blazers organization, media members and the fans.
Dear Rip City,
I want to start off by saying this isn’t a goodbye, it’s a see you later. My words have always been from the heart when it comes to you Rip City. I consider you my home as well as many of my family members and that won’t change. I’ve built my entire adulthood here and made so many friends that I will never forget. The moments on the basketball court as great as they have been, don’t even compare to the experience I’ve had with all of you. The way you embraced me from day one gave me no choice but to reciprocate the love a thousand times and I don’t regret it one bit.
I must admit that it does make me sad to see some people crossover and appear as my opposition in the wake of my asking to be traded without knowing the facts because I am truly one of you. I hope there is a day where we can come together and reminisce on the great times as we won’t have them again — at least not as they were.
I was the young, new, confident, chip on my shoulder, prideful, competitive, Rip City loving, mid-major PG that you all couldn’t get enough of. Now I’m older and on my way out the door, a door that I always prayed would lead to retirement — not another team. I leave with nothing but love for the fans and this city. That will never change. I want to thank Jody Allen. Jody, the first time I met you, you had on a pair of Alexander McQueen sneakers and a vintage Blazers jacket, and I thought to myself, this is a cool woman. I knew we would be alright. I apologize for any misunderstanding this summer because you have truly been great about everything the last five years. I will be forever grateful for your support in some difficult situations away from basketball where you showed true love and compassion for my family and me. We will have our moment. Much love to you!
Thank you to Neil Olshey for making me the sixth pick of the 2012 NBA Draft and allowing me the opportunity to land in such a great place for my life and career. I’d also like to thank Terry Stotts for the freedom and love he showed me during nine years with the organization. Without you, I wouldn’t have become my full self as a player.
Thanks to David Vanterpool, Kaleb Canales, Jay Triano, Dale Osborne, Nate Tibbetts, Jim Moran, John McCullough, and Kim Hughes for being the village that pushed me into the direction I needed right away as an NBA player.
All my teammates of the past, you guys know who I am truly. Publicly and privately it’s the same and I take solace in that fact. I love you guys.
To my young fella Anferno! Lol ... he hates when I say it, but I truly believe in you man. I saw it from the jump. It’s not so much the gifts you have from God and pure talent but the person you are that gave me true confidence in what you could become in this league. I’m excited to see you become it. You know where you stand with me in our brotherhood and in my heart. I love you bra.
To Chauncey, man I love you. I view David Vanterpool as my closest OG in the NBA along with a few others and I place you there with or without basketball. The last two years have been tough on you as they have been on me, but it has been a complete joy growing in my relationship with you bra.
Coach Steve Hetzel, I appreciate you as a man and for challenging me to grow my game. You forever have a friend in me. Mark Tyndale, I appreciate you bro you know what it is. Roy, I appreciate how invested you are in doing what needs to be done and I appreciate you as a leader of men. Scotty Brooks, I’ll miss you. It’s been a true pleasure getting to know you. Jason and Ike, thank you for always being available last minute, at my house, anytime of the day ... means a lot. I’ll miss you guys bro. Heavyn, Dr. Green - Y’all my dogs and y’all better stay in the word without me! God don’t like ugly, lol.
To my guys Eric Hallman and Cory Lay, it I had to do your jobs, I would have quit a long time ago. In this league and many other occupations there are people that do the dirty work and behind the scenes stuff that never gets credit or even acknowledgement, but the ship would sink without you. Much love to you good brothers.
Geoff Clark, bro you are one hell of a dude. I can’t even put into words the comfort you have given me just seeing you in the building every day. I love you like family and I’ll miss seeing you man.
Cherri Hanson, if I’ve learned anything in 11 years with you, it’s that nobody is too big or too old to say please. I love you Miss Cheri and I thank you for being so kind and supportive of me.
Beth Hancock, I thank you for being a dear friend. You’ve been so helpful and supportive of me from a young kid until now. And you haven’t aged a minute lol ... I love you BH!
Jim Taylor, I’ve missed you the last few seasons but you’re one of us! I remember you telling me at the my first All-Star game when it got super busy and I was complaining that “success and failure are equally disastrous” and you were not lying. It’s a beautiful struggle.
Nick West, thank you for everything man. You made everything flow and nobody knew the whole time. You’re a great guy and friend bro - I’ll be seeing you.
My guy Zilla/Mr. Forcier, our time is up but the brotherhood remains. Much love.
To Annie Klug, thank you for all your support with all my initiatives in the community, specifically my Respect Program that is so near and dear to my heart. It’s one thing to help with another person’s mission, but you have been invested in the program as much as I have, and I thank you.
Bruce Ely, oh man - thank you for capturing every precious moment both on the court and off! You have a gift my friend. Tristan, thanks for always being ready to step in and roll. Your creativity is one of a kind.
Grandpa Chico, you what it is. Appreciate all that you have done for me and all one million things you handle. I’ll miss greeting you first every morning.
RD, expect to get your normal texts from me because you’re the only guy I know that watches EVERY fight like me. Small cards to prize fights ... you don’t know shit about boxing though, lol.
To all the local media members, Casey Holdahl, Jason Quick, Sean Highkin, Danny Marang, Dwight Jaynes, Aaron Fentress, and whoever I may have missed, my bad. We’ve had our share of disagreements and heated back and forth interactions but for me I’m a true man. I hold nothing against you. I’ve always tried to give you my real self and every opportunity to do your jobs to the best of my ability. Some of you have pissed me off on occasion but that’s part of this game. I know you guys have pressure and everyday stresses, and I wish you all well. When we’re stripped of what we all do for a living, all we have is our true selves, and I’m the kind of guy that cares for the well-being and quality of life of others. I want to clear anything negative with you because life is too short, and you just don’t know what people are going though. When shit goes down your more human/compassionate side will beat you up when you don’t settle things. Much love to y’all ... peace.
As this chapter of my life ends, I look back and realize how special it was. Even in this moment I feel sad that we never accomplished what I so badly wanted to. I don’t cry much, but I know my love for you is real because I am for sure dropping some tears right now. Rip City you know my heart and where I stand because I’ve stood there for over a decade so to have to move off my square hurts my heart. As my guy Chief says, “one man don’t stop no show” and the show in Rip City must go on with or without me. I do believe a day will come where I put a Blazers uniform on again, and hopefully by then I’ll be forgiven for breaking your hears along with my own.
With Love, The Letter O.
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