Portland Trail Blazers
NBA Basketball team the Portland Trail Blazers do in fact blaze somewhat of a lonely trail as the only NBA team based in the binational Pacific Northwest, after the Vancouver Grizzlies relocated to Memphis and became the Memphis Grizzlies in 2001, and the Seattle SuperSonics relocated to Oklahoma City and became the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2008. The Blazers play in the league's Western Conference Northwest Division as they have done since commencing as an expansion team in 1970 with Portland the only place it called home. The Blazers have been really well supported as shown by the fact that in the years between 1977 and 1995 the team sold out 814 consecutive home games. Amazingly this was the longest such streak in American major professional sports at the time, and only the Boston Red Sox have since done better.
Once the right to a franchise in Oregon had been granted, the next thing was to choose a name. Team management held a contest to select the team's name and from more than 10,000 entries the most popular choice was "Pioneers", but that name was ruled out as it was already used by sports teams at Portland's Lewis and Clark College. The name "Trail Blazers" received 172 entries; because it was derived from the trail blazing activity by explorers making paths through forests, it was considered it a name that could “reflect both the ruggedness of the Pacific Northwest and the start of a major league era in our state.” Not everyone was happy but the Trail Blazers name, often shortened to just "Blazers", became popular in Oregon with fans and media alike.
The team has reached the NBA Finals three times, with just the one championship in 1977. Their other NBA Finals appearances were in 1990 and 1992. For thirty-one out of forty five seasons, the Blazers have qualified for the playoffs including a streak of 21 straight appearances from 1983 through 2003, which is the second longest streak in NBA history.
Among the top Blazers players we can first mention Clyde Drexler who for two straight years, in 1988-89, averaged better than 27 points per game. Drexler's game was getting to the hoop, and gliding through the air.
Terry Porter played as point guard is typically the most important position on the court. The point guard directs traffic, runs the offense and initiates the plan of attack. He was under control, strong and determined and he made the team run smoothly.
Rookie of the Year and a two-time All-Star, Geoff Petrie burst onto the scene in the Blazers inaugural season, scoring over 24 points per game. Petrie would go on to score over 20 points per game an additional two more times and finished his career in 1976 with a career mark of 21.8.
Clifford Robinson started out his career as mainly a scorer, eventually becoming the focal point of the offense. But as his athleticism slightly diminished, he became a very good interior defender and a true team stalwart.
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