August is universally regarded as a sports dead zone.
The NFL is lurching awake. The NBA is a faint whisper. Baseball is grinding out the last month before the playoff hunt begins in earnest.
This is all to say that, as a full-time freelancer who writes mostly about sports, I honestly don't have much to work on right now. Which is to say that, if Willamette Week wants to pay me to hoof it to Memorial Coliseum for the unveiling of the new court celebrating the Blazers' upcoming 50th anniversary season, well, what else did I have going on?
So I went. And this is what I have to write about it: It's really swell!
Nice wood, with a two-toned key that is pure '70s, a pinwheel with a "50 "in the middle, PORTLAND and TRAILBLAZERS on the baselines in the beautiful art-deco font the team used until someone convinced them that they should only use san serifs, for some reason. I suspect that, coming out of the Drexler Years, they thought it looked overwrought, corny, overly expressionistic. Nike, with that swoop and those clean silhouettes, really did a number on suppressing eccentricity in basketball design for a minute there.
But in the harsh light of more eccentric times, the vintage Walton Era font really looks very beautiful on its own merits, ornately designed and warm. The Blazers really should retain it in some way after the season is over. Their hardened skid to simplistic, tough, macho design in the last two decades has been a real bummer. They wore grey for a while, guys. Grey!
The court is repurposed from last year's court, which was sanded down and refinished with new graphics. Guys, we gotta try and recycle all the wood we can, and plant new trees to stave off climate disaster. A tree is basically a machine that locks carbon back into the Earth and out of the atmosphere, then turns it into oxygen. Did you know that there is extensive archeological evidence that the Amazon rainforest was tended to by human beings? There's no reason we can't do it again. Plant and tend to the new rainforests that will give our children air to breathe for centuries to come.
Anyway, it's a nice court.