As the only NBA team based in the Pacific Northwest, it's no wonder the Portland Trail Blazers enjoy such a large and dedicated fan base! Basketball enthusiasts north of the Kings' Sacramento, California home and west of Utah Jazz territory flock to the Blazers to get their fill of the game. In fact, the Trail Blazers sold out 814 consecutive home games between 1977 and 1995, breaking the previous record for the longest streak in American professional league sports.
Besides geography, the Blazers have given their fans plenty of reasons to keep on cheering. The team claimed the NBA Championship in 1977 and appeared in the Finals in 1990 and 1992. They regularly qualify for the playoffs, including a 21-season streak from the early '80s to the 2000s.
Just a few years after the team's inception in 1970, the Blazers rocketed to success with the legendary Bill Walton acting as the team's crown jewel. Local interest in the franchise had been tepid, but after the victory in '77, Blazermania took Portland by storm. Rose City residents saw the championship win as more of an identity than a single achievement -- their team was destined for greatness!
Unfortunately, the Blazers burned hot and fast in the early years, and their momentum soon began to flicker. Walton was off and on the roster due to injuries for the next few years and was eventually traded away. Many fantastic players wore the jersey throughout the next decade, including All-Star guard Jim Paxson and powerhouse center Sam Bowie, but the team failed to achieve the glory fans knew they were capable of.
By the early '90s, the squad came back in a big way. Led by Clyde "The Glide" Drexler, the Trail Blazers' talented lineup was the envy of the league. The team made two appearances in the Finals and earned a regular-season record of 63-19 in 1991.
The Blazers gained notoriety in the early 2000s due to the antics of Rasheed Wallace, the most penalized player in NBA history. Wallace was a force to be reckoned with on the court, but his temper was always getting him in trouble. As a result, Portland fans developed a love-hate relationship with him, which ended with his trade to Atlanta in 2004.
The late 2000s saw the dramatic arc of Greg Oden, a talented player who could never seem to avoid injury long enough to reach his full potential. In fact, going all the way back to Bill Walton, the team's roster has experienced this recurring theme—poorly timed injuries have robbed the squad of its best players again and again.
Through all the ups and downs on Portland's path through history, fans remain convinced that their team will regain its rightful status as NBA champions. Today, they're as devoted as ever! Head to the Moda Center for any home game, and along with the enthusiasm of their mountain lion mascot Blaze the Trail Cat, you're sure to be greeted by a packed house and the deafening chant, "We are… RIP CITY!"