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August 17th, 2011 CASEY JARMAN | Headout
 

I Am Legend

A larger-than-life Blazer legend stops by to say goodbye.

headout_sabonis_3741ILLUSTRATION: Danny Frazier

Arvydas Sabonis, who entered the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass., on Aug. 11, might be the best-loved Portland Trail Blazer of all time. Sure, Bill Walton won the team a championship, and Clyde Drexler fought some epic battles with Michael Jordan, but both players also left fans with heartbreak (Walton left on ugly terms; Drexler won a championship with Houston). The only hang-up most fans have when it comes to Sabonis’ career, on the other hand, is that it took him so long to become a Blazer.

Despite being regarded as “past his prime” when he joined the team in 1995—nine years after he was drafted, thanks to Cold War politics and injury woes—the Lithuanian center looked kind of like your Uncle Frank, if your Uncle Frank excelled in every area of the game save for speed, where Sabonis was comically inadequate. (OK, he couldn’t jump, either, but when you’re 7-foot-3, you don’t really need to jump.) Perhaps most endearingly for Blazer fans, though, Sabonis played at full force through injuries and chronic knee pain, hitting the court for over 85 percent of his games as a Blazer—a startling number for one of the largest players in league history. When the aches and pains became too much, the big man simply refused to accept a new contract and returned to Europe.

That was 2001. When a somewhat recuperated Sabonis returned for a final season with the Blazers (his only NBA team) in 2002, fans knew to relish every masterful behind-the-back pass, every effortless block, every clunky-looking hook shot that sailed through the net and, yes, every three-pointer (Sabonis nailed 50 percent of them in his final season). The last time we saw him playing in Portland, a still-dangerous 38-year-old Arvydas was helping bring Portland back from a 0-3 playoff deficit to go seven games with Dallas. Even in the defeat of the series, Sabonis, at least, looked unstoppable—playing a young man’s minutes and towering over the competition. We shall always remember him this way.


SEE HIM: Arvydas Sabonis arrives at Pioneer Courthouse Square at 1 pm Thursday, Aug. 18. Free. A 6 pm reception follows at the Rose Garden. $50.


Headout Picks

THURSDAY AUG. 18

[MOVIES] GREASE 2
Fleur de Lethal Cinema pays tribute to the gloriously flunked return to Rydell High—on the theory, we suppose, that one Grease wasn’t bad enough. Bagdad Theater, 3702 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 467-7521. 9 pm. $5. 21+.

[THEATER] MADDER MUSIC & STRONGER WINE
No touchy topic or potential pun is too taboo for this raunchy and enlightening musical (written and directed by Russ Cowan, who also stars) that mines historical dirt to dish on everyone from Lewis Carroll to Queen Victoria. The CoHo Theater, 2257 NW Raleigh St., 205-0715. 8:30 pm Thursdays-Saturdays through Aug. 27. $12-$15.

FRIDAY AUG. 19

[MOVIES] STALKER
Beginning in sepia hues and eventually jumping into color à la The Wizard of Oz, Andrei Tarkovsky’s quasi-sci-fi masterpiece follows three men as they journey into a mysterious land called the Zone. NW Film Center’s Whitsell Auditorium, 1219 SW Park Ave., 221-1156. 7 pm. $9. 

[DRINK] PORTLAND BEER WEEK
A whole new slew of chances to celebrate Oregon suds, this time with a distinctly culinary bent. There’s special tastings, tappings and a documentary screening (The Love of Beer at the Bagdad); Widmer even created a “Rose City Hipster” brew steeped with rose hips for the kickoff party at Horse Brass on Friday. Friday-Sunday Aug. 19-28. Visit pdxbeerweek.com for a full schedule of events. 21+.

SATURDAY AUG. 20

[ARTS] PLAZM 20TH ANNIVERSARY
Celebrate 20 years of artistic expression from one of Portland’s more fascinating magazines/art projects. Disjecta, 8371 N Interstate Ave., 286-9449. 6:30 pm. $50-$75 for VIP party, $5-$15 for main party.

[COMEDY] REGGIE WATTS
Watts’ blend of crooning, beatboxing and weirdo comedy makes him one of the most interesting performers working today. Do not miss this show. Helium Comedy Club, 1510 SE 9th Ave., 888-643-8669. 7:30 pm Friday-Saturday, Aug. 19-20. $20. 21+.

SUNDAY AUG. 21

[MUSIC] THE ETTES
Their garage stomp strained through snarling, saccharine pop confections, the Ettes have been rocking their familiar-yet-distinct swampy girlish groove for years. A reunion with White Stripes producer Liam Watson has given newly sweet and snaggled teeth to the Nashville trio. Doug Fir Lounge. 830 E Burnside St., 231-9663. 9 pm. $10 advance, $12 day of show. 21+.
 
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