At Moda Center Wednesday night, the Blazers paid homage to the 1977 championship team by allowing Bill Walton access to a live microphone at midcourt after the game.
And yeah, teams that won a title 40 years ago are totally cool. But if you ask most non-geriatric Blazer fans who aren't John Canzano, the squad most deserving of its own tribute night are the so-called "Jail Blazers" of the early 2000s.
Granted, there's some revisionist history involved there. At the time, the city on the whole didn't seem to appreciate the team's off-the-court misadventures, which superseded anything they managed to accomplish on the hardwood. But as the years have gone by, the Jail Blazers have achieved folk-hero status within Portland, precisely for the antics that once "embarrassed" fans. Some players, though, still take exception to how they were treated back then—one of them being the face of that era, Rasheed Wallace.
Shooting the [press giant prop "Cuss Button"] with Kevin Garnett on Inside the NBA's Area 21 segment last night, Sheed made like it was Festivus and aired some grievances. Echoing statements made by Damon Stoudamire a few years ago, he said he feels the local media portrayed them unfairly, blowing up minor "mishaps"—which he qualifies as "speeding tickets or DUIs"—into headline news.
"They were going to do that in Portland because we were the only show in town," he said. "You know, it's the only professional sports show in town."
He went on:
The only things that could “blow up,” or make local writers big is if they go ahead and try to report everything that’s happening at all. You know speeding tickets, or if you parked at a handicapped spot—they would report anything. So we knew it was all about us and we had to stick together and fight through it. And that we did no matter what they labeled us.
Watch the full video below. Trigger warning: It begins with a conversation about the Blazers' fourth-quarter collapse against the Lakers in Game 7 of the 2000 Western Conference finals.