Blazers & Sonics: The End of a Rivalry?

As the only NBA teams in the Pacific Northwest, the Portland Trailblazers and Seattle Supersonics have enjoyed a good-natured, yet intense, rivalry over the last 38 years. With only 170 miles separating the two cities, there has always been a large contingency of visiting fans at any game to make it even more exciting.

Tonight’s game in Seattle may very well be the concluding game of this incredible rivalry. The Sonics have been threatening to move the team for quite some time. Oklahoma City has come up with an attractive package of arena improvements and tax breaks that the City of Seattle is apparently not going to match. The NBA Board of Governors is widely expected to approve the move next month.

My first real recognition of this rivalry was during the 1978 playoffs. The Blazers had won the NBA Championship in 1977, which is what drew me in as a fan for the first time. The injury-plagued Blazers lost a heart-breaking series to the Sonics–who then went on to win the 1978 Championship. From then on, it was war every time these two teams got together. It was truly exciting to watch or listen to.

We can hope that some last-minute deal with keep the Sonics in Seattle, but it doesn’t look very promising. I’m sure that Seattle will get a new NBA franchise one day–the city is simply too big not to have one. But it will never be the same as the Blazer/Sonic rivalry. As original Blazer radio play-by-play Bill Schonely announcer said “It’s just a crying shame.”

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8 Things About Me I’m Pretty Sure You Don’t Care About

Okay, my posting rate has been a little slow over the last few days. So I’m lifting a meme from John to get things moving along again. With this meme, you basically tell 8 facts about yourself and then tag someone else. I’m not going to officially tag anyone, but be a good sport and play along okay?

1. Both of my grandpas were named after famous people: Jesse James and Benjamin Franklin. Unfortunately, I never had the pleasure meeting either one (neither the grandpas nor the actual famous people).

2. I have ridden in the back of a police car and briefly checked out the county jail. You see, back in junior high, we had a zero-tolerance policy for fighting. If you were caught, you automatically got to ride to the county jail–about 13 miles away. They scared the hell out of you by showing you some cells, then your parents got to come pick you up. The fight was so minor that it was not worth it. No charges were filed. In retrospect, I should have drawn some blood or something for all the trouble of having my parents pick me up from jail.

3. Several years back, I was a good sport and took Irish dance lessons with the Younger Daughter. For the record, she grew bored of it and decided to quit–not me.

4. My biggest traffic pet peeve: Not using your turn signal. In an earlier post, I threatened to develop a tactical nuke capable of taking out a car. I would definitely use this on those who can’t be bothered with such formalities as signalling turns.

5. I am a sucker for cats. I could easily be one of those freaks that has like 47 cats. I hope this doesn’t threaten my Man Club membership.

6. In junior high, I once told a counselor that my goal was to be an NBA basketball player. For some weird reason, he thought I should have a backup plan, but I didn’t think so. For the record, I never even tried out for basketball. Oh yeah, and I’m 5’9″. Thankfully, I did come up with a backup plan.

7. I was so painfully shy in my younger years, that I never attended a single dance–not even the big ones: homecoming, prom, etc. That’s probably my single biggest regret from my youth.

8. Many years ago now, John and I decided at around 3pm to drive from Portland, Oregon, to Vancouver, B.C…for no particular reason. And we just turned around and drove right back after grabbing some fuel and snacks in Vancouver. A 12-hour round-trip if I remember correctly. Crazy. And one of my fondest memories.

1968 Retrospect: Professional Basketball

A new professional basketball league, the American Basketball Association (ABA), started up in 1968. It saw only limited success and all teams lost money in the first year. The league lasted only 8 years before merging with the NBA in 1976.

In the NBA, Wilt Chamberlain was the Player of the Year for the 3rd consecutive year. In the 1967-68 season, Chamberlain became the all-time leading career scorer at the time with 25,434 points. In July, Chamberlain was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers for 3 players and cash.

The St. Louis Hawks won the Western Division and the Philadelphia 76ers won the Eastern Division. However, neither team made it to the finals. In the end, it was the Boston Celtics going up against the Los Angeles Lakers. With the scoring of John Havlicek and the defensive skills of player-coach Bill Russell, the Celtics beat the Laker 4 games to 2 to win their 9th championship in 10 years.

The NBA also added two new teams for the 1968-69 season: The Milwaukee Bucks and the Phoenix Suns. They each paid a franchise fee of $2 million. Contrast this with the $300 million franchise fee that the Charlotte Bobcats paid 3 years ago.

Naming Rights for This Blog Now Available

Apparently the Rose Garden Arena in Portland (home of my beloved Portland Trailblazers) is one of the last NBA arenas that has not sold naming rights. I just found out from John that this will not be the case starting with the 2008-2009 season. Yes, the beloved Rose Garden sign will be removed forever and replaced by the corporate logo of the highest bidder.

I am really conflicted on this. The sentimental, near-life-long fan in me definitely does not want this to happen. The Rose Garden name has meaning; Nike Arena (or whatever it turns out to be) is meaningless. However, the capitalist in me says go for it and make every penny you can. That’s the American way.

It’s not likely anything I or anyone else says will change their minds. I’m going to just give up and join in the cash bonanza. So this blog is announcing the sale of naming rights. I understand that the oil companies and Microsoft have lots of spare cash. Perhaps they’d be willing to throw some my way. As soon as the check clears, the Dad in the Headlights moniker will be removed forever and replaced by the winner’s company name and logo.

Now Mr. CFO, you may not think that this would be a very good investment on your part. On the contrary; you need to be aware that this blog generates tens of hits per day. This will indeed be mutually-beneficial partnership. Make your bid today in the comments section.