*Appreciating The Best Fans In Basketball* GREAT READ

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[h1]Long Live Rip City: Appreciating The Best Fans In Basketball
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Image courtesy of Oregon LiveOregon Live

After Monday night's crucial win over the Oklahoma City Thunder, Andrew Sharp says that the secret to Portland's success isn't the players, the coaches, or the management. It's those crazed Blazers fans that just never give up on their team.

Apr 13, 2010 - In the NBA and elsewhere, it's usually a waste of time trying to decide which fans are really "the best." For instance, Utah fans probably produce the most hostile atmosphere for visiting teams, Golden State has an army of diehards that've hung on for decades despite perpetual losing, and the Knicks fanbase loves the game of basketball more than any group in the league.

With so many great fans, most of whom are completely different, it's almost impossible to quantify what makes one group superior the others. But here's one attempt:
[h2]50-31.[/h2]
That's the Portland Trail Blazers' record this year. After countless injuries to big men, swingmen, and everyone in between, the Blazers are headed to playoffs as either the sixth or seventh seeded team in the Western Conference, and more than anything else, it's a testament to the fans in Portland.

No question, Nate McMillan's done a phenomenal job holding that team together, and just the same, Brandon Roy and Lamarcus Aldridge have been key mainstays while the rest of the roster crumbled into a heap. But at the end of the day, the Blazers had about ten different excuses to quit on this season, and they didn't.

In the NBA, that's more rare than you'd think. Take it from a Washington Wizards fan. The Wizards got off to a 5-10 start this year, and almost immediately, interest in the team waned. Just another mediocre season, fans thought. And from there, obviously, the negativity snowballed, Gilbert Arenas brought guns to the locker room, they traded away their superstars, and suddenly, the Wizards are one of the worst teams in the league. That's what can happen when a team faces adversity. In fact, I'm pretty sure this has happened with the New York Knicks for ten seasons in a row. 

But that's not what happened in Portland, even after a string of too-cruel-to-be-true tragedies struck the Blazers family. First, beloved owner Paul Allen was diagnosed with cancer. Then Greg Oden suffered yet another season-ending injury, and fair or not, everyone expected the Blazers to crumble. When Joel Pryzbilla suffered a knee injury, and then re-injured it—in the shower—and ended his season, again, we all expected the team to write off the season as a lost cause. Who could blame them? A case of terrible karma crippling a young team. Then there was PG Andre Miller, one of the lone veterans on the Blazers, fighting with Nate McMillan, prompting everyone throughout the league to call that signing a mistake. Or GM Kevin Pritchard, suddenly fighting for his job and throwing the future of the team in doubt. Or Brandon Roy coming up injured, just days before the playoffs begin. You name the catastrophe, and it's happened in Portland this season.



And each time, the Blazers had a perfect excuse to pack it in and feel sorry for themselves, but they kept fighting. And it all starts with the fans. Some background...

In the city of Portland, the Trail Blazers are king. The city has no other professional teams, so the world of sports revolves around the Blazers. There's a long history with that franchise, dating back to the Bill Walton teams and the 1977 NBA title. Literally for decades, the people of Portland have worshipped the Trail Blazers, ignoring the heartbreak of choosing Sam Bowie over Michael Jordan, the disappointment of those early-90s teams, and the antics of the Jail Blazers era. No matter the levels of heartbreak, the fans never lost faith.

Blazers fans are like the spouse that you always wanted. Supportive to the bitter end, and always looking on the bright side, ignoring the failures, and focusing on the positives. A lot of times, this sort of one-sided relationship, unrequited with championship teams, makes other basketball fans pity them. But here's why they don't deserve our sympathy: Because their fans love the team so much, the Trail Blazers are more successful. This year's just another example.

Even during a season when the Blazers have had the most snakebitten franchise this side of the Clippers, the folks in Rip City have never gotten bogged down with negativity. With all their sports media focused on the team, it would have been really easy for all of them to lose sight of the bright spots on that roster, and focus on who's NOT playing, and what their team CAN'T do. But instead, they kept showing up in droves, kept going nuts, and never lost hope. If the Portland fans wouldn't quit, how could the team?

So Monday night, with Brandon Roy sitting out one of the biggest games of the season, at home against the Thunder with playoff positioning on the line, we shouldn't be surprised that the Blazers responded. This is just what they do. The fans didn't lose hope, players like Marcus Camby and Andre Miller stepped up to fill the void created by Roy's absence, the Blazers buckled down on Kevin Durant in the second half, and they gutted out a win.

And watching from afar, it's hard not to be jealous.

There's something special going on out there, even if the fans don't have a championship team to cheer for. What they have instead, is a longstanding tradition of making the best of what cards they're dealt, and loving the crap out of their team. Even if they don't get rewarded with a championship this year, or ever, they're still there to help get the most out of the team they've got. Isn't that what sports is all about? It's so much more rewarding to cheer for a team that you really love than be a Knicks fan this year, constantly focused on players you don't have.

It's an attitude that permeates the entire organization in Portland, and it shows. Monday night was just another example. And even if Brandon Roy misses the playoffs and the Blazers get swept in the first round, you get the feeling that the Blazers fans will be okay with it. They don't quit on their team.

And if they won't quit, neither will the Blazers. Whatever happens to Roy and the Blazers this postseason, they'll be back. Next year, the year after that, and as long as the fans in Portland keep infusing that team with an energy that's unlike anything you'll find anywhere else in the league. It's tough to quantify what makes a fanbase "best," but by any measure, that makes the Portland fans are pretty damn awesome.




http://www.sbnation.com/2...ve-rip-city-appreciating

Quality article. Maybe some people that hate on Blazer fans will read this and realize why we truly love our team in this city.
 
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Doesn't Portland rank #1 in depression and suicide rates though? Last year, Business Week said it was the Unhappiest city in the country.
 
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Originally Posted by ERASCISM


Doesn't Portland rank #1 in depression and suicide rates though? Last year, Business Week said it was the Unhappiest city in the country.
Not a clue. Seasonal Depression might be high due to the fall and winter weather but I know nothing about suicide rates. Never met anyone that has committed suicide. Btw, I don't really see what that has to do with the article or the support that the team gets in the city. I guess I can tell you people don't go and kill themselves or get that depressed over this team. 
 
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A local writer wrote a fluff piece to slurp his readers? Eh...

And being the only team in the city is a lot different than cities with teams from all the major sports...
 
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Originally Posted by DLo13

A local writer wrote a fluff piece to slurp his readers? Eh...

And being the only team in the city is a lot different than cities with teams from all the major sports...
QFT.
Oakland has been a haven for losing lately, but the Warriors are the only team that can put people in the seats.  I honestly think the Warriors average more fans per game than the A's.
 
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Originally Posted by ERASCISM


Doesn't Portland rank #1 in depression and suicide rates though? Last year, Business Week said it was the Unhappiest city in the country.
Seattle?
 
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Only thing I'll disagree with in the article is the statement that we were with the team during the Jailblazer era. I know everyone hated the team then. No one wanted to root for them while they were getting caught with weed, fighting dogs, beating their wives and generally not caring about winning. Hell Portland didnt care about the team until we finally got rid of Zach, then people realized 'hey, Pritchard is getting us back on track!' and everything just kind of led up into this era.
 
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Originally Posted by DLo13

A local writer wrote a fluff piece to slurp his readers? Eh...

And being the only team in the city is a lot different than cities with teams from all the major sports...

I completely agree.
 

jpzx

Supporter
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Originally Posted by Frankie Valentino

Since when do they call New York "Rip City"?
Your one liners have taken a dip these past few years
 
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If Portland has such great fans, how come they finished last in attendance just a few years ago? Oh that's right, they sucked, and the fans stopped showing up, just like every other fan base when the team is bad. Portland only has to be good to have a packed house because they're not competing with anyone. If they're bad, then it's just like every other fan base.
 
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ignoring the failures

They must be the best fans, cuz there's a lot to ignore on this subject. 



This article is a joke.  I live here and it's a bunch of clueless tree huggers that think Drexler will carry them to the promised land still. 

They started counting championships years ago and I'm still waiting for them to even make it to the finals. 

They think their great, cuz they just don't get outside much.  Even one of their biggest homer fans who had his own radio show bounced to go work in Dallas and actually see real sports. 

They have homer announcers talking to homer fans.  Homer writers writing columns for homer fans to eat up.  They don't know a thing about basketball outside of the city so they just wander around aimlessly thinking they matter to the rest of the country.  Last year this place was packed with playoff basketball stuff, 2 weeks later after they took it all down, then pretend like nothing ever happened. 
  They'll do that same gimmick @#$%^&*@ this week too, only to be gone by end of the month. 

They're a joke plain and simple. 
 
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Originally Posted by dmbrhs

If Portland has such great fans, how come they finished last in attendance just a few years ago? Oh that's right, they sucked, and the fans stopped showing up, just like every other fan base when the team is bad. Portland only has to be good to have a packed house because they're not competing with anyone. If they're bad, then it's just like every other fan base.
I explained that in my post.
No one wanted to root for them while they were getting caught with weed, fighting dogs, beating their wives and generally not caring about winning. Hell Portland didnt care about the team until we finally got rid of Zach, then people realized 'hey, Pritchard is getting us back on track!' and everything just kind of led up into this era.
No teams fans will root for the team when that team is an embarrassment to the league and the city.
 
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Originally Posted by SIRIUS LEE HANDSOME

Best fans in basketball are in New York City.

Everyone knows this.
agreed.
at me looking at this thread, getting all excited and assuming it was gonna be a Knicks article... especially after last nights game when that Garden was going wild to get our 29th win in our last home game, i thought for certain this would be about us.

i mean come the !+#* on. Lets see Portland go through the kind of #*$% we have this decade, pathetic management, and 9 consecutive losing seasons and STILL be ranked 5th in attendance and have the Garden rocking every time a game gets close, and also probably the most die hards in the league still. bull #*$%. %*+!$%$ Portland


If Portland has such great fans, how come they finished last in attendance just a few years ago? Oh that's right, they sucked, and the fans stopped showing up, just like every other fan base when the team is bad. Portland only has to be good to have a packed house because they're not competing with anyone. If they're bad, then it's just like every other fan base
exactly what i am saying. Portland was almost dead last in attendance just a few years ago, !*$$%#++ best fans in the NBA
... Any city can have fans show up when a team is on top... !+#* even the Swamprats had their fair share of sellouts when they were good. But only in NY will our team be ranked top 10 in attendance every season, and top 5 this year throughout 9 %*+!$%$ straight pathetic losing seasons
I mean, theres not alot of things the Knicks should be credited for, but after us fans have gone through all this suffering and have still been here, havent given up, and be selling out MSG nightly, can we AT LEAST be credited as the most loyal fanbase? !+#*


I mean you wanna see a stadium sellout and a city back thier team, why the !+#* dont yall give us Brandon Roy and a 50 win team?
 
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Originally Posted by dmbrhs

If Portland has such great fans, how come they finished last in attendance just a few years ago? Oh that's right, they sucked, and the fans stopped showing up, just like every other fan base when the team is bad. Portland only has to be good to have a packed house because they're not competing with anyone. If they're bad, then it's just like every other fan base.
IDK if you read the article or what but the fans stopped showing up because they did the only thing fans could when ownership put out the jail blazers. Fans tolerated them for a little while but when fans started getting kicked out for holding up the "fire whittsit" signs (former GM) in the garden, pretty much most of the fan base said until things changed they would not show up. The team finally started to change and the year they brought in Roy and Aldridge the fans started to come back. The fans dictated that entire change, you can't use that attendence dip against them, it was a protest. They got done what they wanted and now look at the roster.
  
 
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In all my time spent on this forum, I dont think I've ever seen Jonfarr make a post that did not relate to Oregon
 
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