Over the years there have been many debates about the cities or teams that appear to be “cursed” in the world of sports. A long drought of winning, no championships and/or a combination of a every team in a specific city having a history of atrocity are all bulletpoints in any debate on the topic.
May of us are fast to point to the city of Cleveland as being the most “cursed” of the cities in the sports world . The Catch, Curse of Rocky Colavito, Red Right 88, The Drive, The Fumble, The Shot, Cleveland Browns relocation controversy, 1997 World Series, and The Decision all come to mind when gauging the misery of Cleveland sports. But in all reality, Cleveland is known for not winning any major sports championships since 1964, close to 50 years ago.
But few of these cities and even fewer of these teams compare to the misery that is the Portland TrailBlazers.
During the 1970’s and in particular from March 15th, 1977 until Feb. 28th, 1978, the Blazers won 60 of 75 regular season games and were led by a young Bill Walton to an NBA title during the 76-77 season. Walton averaged 18.6 points, 14.4 ‘boards, 3.2 blocks in the regular season and was a big factor in the Portland attack. Most importantly, he was the building block of a foundation, a foundation towards a bright and prosperous career.
But in the ’77-’78 season Walton discovered he had yet another problem with his and would later find out that the navicular bone in his left ankle was broken. Walton’s career would take a big hit and so would the TrailBlazers organization which seemed to be on the cusp of building an incredible team.
Not to be outdone by the 70’s the Blazers took misery into their own hands in 1984. With another building block in place (Clyde Drexler drafted in 1983, Hall of Famer) the Blazers held the 2nd overall pick in the 1984 NBA Draft. Many scouts and experts were buzzing about the promise of a young North Carolina prospect by the name of Michael Jordan. Many of these same prospects were worried and scared by Kentucky’s Sam Bowie who was experiencing leg issues throughout his college career.
Nonetheless the Portland TrailBlazers drafted Bowie. They would later state that they drafted Bowie over Jordan because they felt they didn’t need another shooting guard since they had drafted Clyde Drexler the year before. We all know how that turned out.
The Blazers put together a nice run in the 90s behind Clyde Drexler, Jerome Kersey, Terry Porter and Drazen Peterovic (for a short time) and made the finals twice, once in 89-90 against the Detroit Pistons and again in 91-92 against Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, losing both series.
The Blazers would return to prominence in 2000 with a stacked roster of NBA All-Star caliber players like Damon Stoudemire, Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen, Steve Smith and a young Rasheed Wallace. But again, the curse would rear it’s ugly head.
In what many consider one of the biggest chokes in NBA playoff history Portland had a 15-point lead with little over 10 minutes left in Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers. But the Blazers collapsed historically and the Lakers, led by Shaq and Kobe, mounted a historic comeback to win the series and eventually the NBA title.
In 2008, the Trailblazers held the #1 overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft. Two prospects were slotted to be the Top 2 picks, and Ohio State big man by the name of Greg Oden and an impressive forward from Texas named Kevin Durant. Oden wasn’t considered as promising of a prospect as Durant, plagued with some injuries in college and questions regarding how he would transition to the NBA style of play.
The Blazers selected Oden with the 1st pick. Oden had micro-fracture surgery on his right knee before his rookie season and wouldn’t debut until his 2nd year in the league and he wouldn’t stay on the court long after that. Oden left his NBA debut game with a foot injury after playing only 13 scoreless minutes against the Los Angeles Lakers.
On February 13, 2009, he injured his left knee (chipped knee cap) in a game against the Golden State Warriors and missed three weeks. On
December 5, 2009, Oden injured his left knee in the first quarter of a game. He later underwent surgery for a fractured left patella and missed the rest of the season. On November 17, 2010, the team announced that Oden would have micro-fracture surgery on his left knee, ending his 2010–2011 season.
On February 3, 2012, Oden underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. On February 20, 2012, Oden was scheduled for a procedure on his left knee similar but during the operation, further damage to the articular cartilage was discovered, and Oden underwent his 3rd micro-fracture surgery.
Finally, On March 15, 2012, Oden was waived by the Blazers.
But the Blazers had a promising star in Brandon Roy to build around right? Wrong. On January 17, 2011, Roy underwent arthroscopic surgery on both of his knees and Roy announced that his knees had degenerated so much that he was retiring from basketball. Another big blow to the Blazers.
To top things off, center Lamarcus Aldridge, diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome in 2007, received heart surgery at the beginning of the season to evaluate the status of the electrical system of his heart, recently underwent hip surgery.
Fans are not the only ones who are buying into the idea of a curse. Former TrailBlazers center Marcus Camby, who now plays for the Houston Rockets, was asked by ESPN’s Marc Stein about a Portland curse:
They might not want to admit it, but when I was there, my goodness, people were saying, “Are we really snake-bit? Are we really cursed?” Doubts and talks like that came about. Everybody just tried to brush it to one side and remain positive, but it was hard to escape because everybody was talking about it. It’s hard to argue when it keeps happening year after year after year.
Considering the Trailblazers are the only major sports team in the city of Portland does this one case become that much bigger? Does it trump cities with multiple teams with similar woes?
My thoughts are, yes. In some cities there are distractions (ie. other teams) that can help fluff the impact of one team’s shortcomings. But Portland only has the Trailblazers.
Naturally hindsite is 20/20 but the Blazers were moments away from 2 amazing dynasties. If the Blazers had passed on Bowie they would have had a backcourt of Clyde Drexler and Michael Jordan to carry the torch for Portland. Imagine how that turned out.
Furthermore imagine is Portland took Kevin Durant over Greg Oden. They would have had a lineup of Aldridge, Roy and Durant to lead them. But we all know how that turned out.
Sad thing is it will probably be a long time before Portland ever gets another chance to right the ship. They did a good job of ridding themselves of the “Jail Birds” monicker of the early 2000’s but swerved right into another pitfall.
I can’t help but feel bad for Portland. A city that is “all in” with the Blazers and often has to walk away from the table broke, defeated and ravaged.
Odds would suggest that eventually you hit on a winner. At least Portland sure hopes so.
Knicks’ Owner James Dolan Bans Heckling Fan
New York Knicks owner James Dolan apparently has some thin skin when it comes to heckling over his horrendous run at the top of the Knicks empire.
That didn’t sit well with Dolan, who called the mad rude and abruptly banned him from attending anymore Knicks games and followed it up by having the man escorted out of the building by security.
NBA Announces Partnership with Puma
The National Basketball Association has officially announced that they have agreed to a multiyear partnership with Puma, who will now be recognized as an official marketing partner of the NBA, according to an official league statement.
“We are thrilled to partner with the NBA to bring PUMA to the next level in our reentry to the basketball market,” Adam Petrick, Global Director of Brand and Marketing at PUMA, said in a statement. “This partnership is a testament to the continued resurgence of PUMA within the basketball industry.”
Per the new agreement, Puma will not be allowed to feature athletes in their respective NBA uniforms and team logos has the brand looks to regain it’s once prominent presence in the NBA.
“PUMA played an important part in the early footwear culture of the NBA,” Dan Rossomondo, NBA Senior Vice President, Media and Business Development, stated.
“As PUMA expands its presence in the basketball market with new player relationships and a new line of basketball sneakers, becoming an official footwear partner of the league was a natural next step to help amplify the brand’s return to the category.”
The NBA has been busy with partnerships as of late. Just last week we reported on their new deal for the NBA G League and Twitch, where Twitch streams will now broadcast NBA G League gameplay, and Twitch streamers will be allowed to participate, via a unique partnership with them.
NBA G League Back on Twitch
The NBAGLeague’s official channel on Twitch, stated the following about their renewed partnership with the popular streaming platform:
“Thanks to a new partnership, you can now watch and co-stream any NBA G League game that is streamed on Twitch on your very own Twitch channel! So bring your hot takes, play-by-play, stat breakdowns, and fan rants because it’s your chance to put your unique spin on the broadcasts”
The news means even more attention will be put on the Twitch marketplace, and one would assume that there may be interest in the future in leveraging Mixer streams as well, if there isn’t already talk of that occurring.
The focus on co-streaming is particularly interesting as it brings a new level of interaction to NBA G League action, and a way for fans, and other Twitch streamers, to get in on the action like never before via a new co-streaming element.
Per an official press release: “Co-streaming is a feature unique to Twitch which allows a streamer to share another channel’s video feed, but with their own commentary and community. The result is a more personalized social experience. If you’re a streamer and want to give co-streaming a try, you can find a commentary-free broadcast to use on your co-stream”
This could be, potentially, a big tool for Twitch streams featuring NBA G League content to get incredible exposure, and a way for the NBA to market G League action on other Twitch channels, and via other niches, such as IRL streams.
Furthermore, it presents a great opportunity to shine the spotlight on female streamers who have a passion for broadcasting, or sports commentary.
On the surface, it seems like a win win for all involved.
Everything kicked off, officially, on February 8th, but here is the remaining schedule of games.:
UPCOMING TWITCH SCHEDULE (ALL TIMES ET)
Saturday, Feb. 9 — 8:30 PM — Memphis Hustle vs. Texas Legends
Friday, Feb. 22 — 8 PM — Agua Caliente Clippers vs. Wisconsin Herd
Saturday, Feb. 23 — 8:30 PM — Iowa Wolves vs. Texas Legends
Friday, March 1 — 8 PM — Fort Wayne Mad Ants vs. Wisconsin Herd
Saturday, March 2 — 2 PM — Capital City Go-Go vs. Raptors 905
Friday, March 8 — 8:30 PM — Raptors 905 vs. Austin Spurs
Saturday, March 9 — 7 PM — Windy City Bulls vs. Greensboro Swarm
Friday, March 15 — 8:30 PM — Agua Caliente Clippers vs. Texas Legends
Saturday, March 16 — 7 PM — Erie BayHawks vs. Canton Charge
Friday, March 22— 10 PM — Agua Caliente Clippers vs. Santa Cruz Warriors
Saturday, March 23 — 10 PM — Agua Caliente Clippers vs. Santa Cruz Warriors
Viewers can watch the original broadcast at on the NBA G League’s official Twitch channel, or they can choose to watch Twitch Partners and Affiliates who are planning on co-streaming the NBA G League this year.
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