More writing from Brian Libby

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David Jacobs

I completely blame the refs for that loss. Do you remember the touch fouls they called on Arvydas? Secondarily, I blame Brian Grant. He didn't have a chance against Shaq, and Shaq scored at will against him.


The thing that bothered me most about that loss was that it seemed to linger throughout the next few years of Laker dominance. After they dusted Indiana, when they returned to the court the next year, they became THE LAKERS. Teams were afraid to be on the floor with them, and they were presumed (by virtue of having won that first title) to have the killer instinct to put teams away. But they never earned that killer instinct, it was given to them as a gift by the Blazers!

Yes, the Lakers had talent and might have won a championship or two even if the Blazers had won in 2000. But I think the three-peat was far from a sure thing despite the aura of invincibility that seemed to emanate from LA. That 7-game Kings series that came the next year (or was it the year after?) indicated that the Lakers could be fought to a standstill. And now history records that Shaq and Kobe pretty much couldn't stand each other, making that aura of invincibility that much more flimsy in retrospect.

Argh. Yeah, it still bothers me.


I think the lack of leadership that Pippen brought to the team has been a key factor in the team's performance since he has been gone.

One of my best memories is the home game against Dallas (three years ago?) where we went on that crazy run of alley-oop after alley-oop. Pippen orchestrated that one so well and kept it going.

Brian Libby

See, this is what I'm talking about: getting past the tragedy and savoring some of the glory that led up to it.


I remember the good times from that era as well. Sabas' matrix passes, Pippen's will, Sheed willingly coming off the bench for the betterment of the team... I also remember that 4th quarter being the end, with Bob "I'm not a chemistry teacher" Whittsit moves that have sunk the Blazers to the state they are now in (namely the O'Neal/Grant for Davis/Kemp moves). That is the worst thing to me about those eleven minutes.


After watching and reading about the loss last night for the Suns, I still am just as bitter today as I was 5 years ago.

You look at the talent we had compared to the talent now, and begin to wonder what should have been. In '99, when the Spurs won their FIRST championship, we went down to the Memorial Miracle in the Western Conference finals, and had players like Isaiah Rider, Walt Williams, Jim Jackson, Stacey Augmon carrying the team. That was when we had a group of players who wanted to win and had that chemistry everyone desires.

When we added people like Detlef Schremp, Scottie Pippen, Joe Kleine, Steve Smith and Brian Grant to our roster, we proved that people come to Portland eager to win a championship. When those dreams died, just like they did for Karl Malone and most likely for Gary Payton, our city, along with the players realized that their dreams were but a memory and that it was not going to happen for us in the near future. The same meltdown happened with the Lakers when they added the two forementioned players last year. Drive gets you results, and when you come so close, yet so far, you realize how irony tastes like a pint of bitter black butte.

Just think about it, that day changed life for the Blazers and for Portland. Never since have we tasted any victory past the first round. Never since have we felt the pride of "our" team, instead we just knew we would always be playoff bound (And even that now has failed). Never since that day had the talk been so strong about adding a second professional team to this area and never before have we showed a complete lack of interest in the Portland sportscape.

The day will forever live in Portland lore, just as the Ruth trade to the Yankees. There will always be those diehard Blazer fans just like those of the sox, but at least they realized for 80 some years that the curse lived on. Portland has just come to realize it has the curse, and when you think management will do something positive, they do something in the opposite direction just as the red sox did throughout decades.

Another boo-boo will be made this year, another "Rebuilding" year will occur. Since we haven't felt the pain of 3 non-winning seasons since 1975, it will get more bitter as time goes on. In 2000, we were on top of the world, and Blazermania seemed to return. Back in '75 at least we were new to the game, now we are just small pawns in its development. Destiny called, and wanted LA back.

This legacy, as well as the championship run and Adelman's team of the 90's is great to reminisce about, but until I see some of the former glory restored to this great city, I'm knee deep in this glass and I am not climbing out. Pain rooted in bitterness, only to return when the curse of the towel slam is lifted.

David Jacobs

... Isaiah Rider, Walt Williams, Jim Jackson, Stacey Augmon carrying the team. That was when we had a group of players who wanted to win and had that chemistry everyone desires.


Brian Libby

I disagree. I definitely think the addition of Scottie Pippen is what made us championship contenders. The Williams/Augmon bunch were good and played like a team, but they weren't gonna win the title. The team that followed them with Pippen could have and should have got the ring.


I blame Rasheed. He choked. He was our go-to guy and he missed something like 8 consecutive shots in the fourth quarter. Even in the Piston's win last year, he choked. Near the end of game one, the Piston's needed a good shot, they gave the ball to Sheed and he threw it out of bounds. Rasheed wants to be paid like he's a superstar, but he doesn't actually want to be a superstar.... whatever... How about that Telfair?

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