Portland Trail Blazers
Portland Trail Blazers

Portland Trail Blazers

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Portland Trail Blazers Team History

As the only NBA team based in the Pacific Northwest, the Portland Trail Blazers have had a large following ever since the franchise was founded as an expansion team in 1970. The team name was selected from a contest with fans submitting their ideas for the new franchise. The overwhelming favorite name, the Pioneers, was not chosen since it was the team name of the local college program, so the Trail Blazers was selected instead. The Blazers struggled in their early years and failed to make the postseason in their first six seasons, but the arrival of Hall of Fame coach Jack Ramsay helped turn the franchise’s fortunes around in the 1970s. 

Portland Trail Blazers Championships

After struggling in their first few years, the Trail Blazers found success in the 1970s with the arrival of Bill Walton in the NBA Draft and Jack Ramsey as the coach. The Blazers had a big year in 1977, earning their first winning record and first playoff appearance and also won the franchise’s first championship over the Philadelphia 76ers. An injury to Bill Walton the following season ended any hopes for a Portland dynasty and Walton’s holdout and subsequent exit in free agency began a period of rebuilding for the Blazers. The arrival of star Clyde Drexler began another period of success for Portland, which made its second trip to the NBA Finals in 1990, but the Blazers would fall to the “Bad Boys” Detroit Pistons in five games. The Trail Blazers would return to the Finals two years later but would lose the 1992 NBA Championship to Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls. In recent years, the Blazers have made the playoffs several times in the 2000s and 2010s but have not been able to make it back to the championship series.

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Portland Trail Blazers Famous Players and Hall of Famers

Clyde “The Glide” Drexler spent 15 years playing in the NBA with the majority coming with the Portland Trail Blazers before earning a championship with the Houston Rockets towards the end of his career. A 10-time All-Star selection, Drexler also made five All-NBA Teams in his career, all coming with the Trail Blazers. A fan favorite in Portland, Drexler also tops many of the franchise’s leaderboards, leading the Blazers in points scored (18,040), games played (867) and steals (1,795). Drexler also ranks second in team history in assists (4,933) and rebounds (5,339).

One of the stars of today’s NBA, Damian Lillard has reinvigorated the Portland fan base with his electrifying play at the point guard position. Unanimously voted as the NBA Rookie of the Year in 2013, Lillard is known for his late-game heroics and his clutch three-point prowess. As of 2019, Lillard has been named to four NBA All-Star Teams and four All-NBA Teams. Lillard currently ranks second among all Trail Blazers in scoring (behind Drexler) with 12,909 points and ranks third in assists (3,479) and first in three-pointers made (1,269).

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