Thursday, September 13, 2012

Cursed


The Portland Trail Blazers are cursed. It's high time that I finally admit this to myself and publicly as well. My sad admission comes on the news that promising young guard Elliot Williams will likely miss the entire season with a torn Achilles tendon. This news actually made me sick to my stomach. He suffered through double knee surgery to miss his rookie season, and finally found himself on the court and making strides last season when he injured his shoulder. An Achilles injury can rob someone of their explosiveness, and is especially worrisome with a player whose best skill is his explosiveness.


Does any of this sound familiar? Greg Oden, the number one pick from now what seems like ages ago, is gone. He may or may not ever play again. He missed his rookie season with a major knee injury and would proceed to find himself on crutches more often than not for the rest of his Blazers career. He supposedly plans on sitting this upcoming season out before making another go at basketball, and if he ever wears an NBA uniform again it almost certainly won't be Portland's.

Yes, the team that drafted Sam Bowie over Michael Jordan and Oden over Durant has a curse, and I don't know what to do about it. I am stuck with this team. I root them on each season and I curse the names of the players like Bill Laimbeer, Vlade Divac, Sean Elliott and Shaquille O'Neal who have bedeviled them in various ways throughout NBA history. I should have been shocked that such a promising young player like Elliot Williams had another season end before it was even close to beginning, but I was just sad. And it's all the more strange that I actually got somewhat excited about new basketball cards hitting the shelf recently. 


I picked up a 5-card pack of 2012-13 NBA Hoops to post on APTBNL and also grabbed a jumbo pack because I figured there might be a Blazer inside. It turns out, as you can see, that I did pretty well in that department. I snagged both of the Blazers top draft picks, who up until this point remained relatively uninjured. There's actually talk that the Lillard kid may contend for Rookie of the Year, last won by a certain guy named Brandon Roy that was The Franchise until his knees turn to chalk dust. I am also going to pretend that this Roy player is still retired and never played for anyone but Portland because LA LA LA I CAN'T HEAR YOU LA LA LA.


I thought I'd be equitable and show off some non-Blazers cards from the jumbo pack. Here's another awkward studio pose of a rookie from draft day, presumably. The NBA is really going for the retro look this year with the caps and the novelty basketballs. These draft day caps scream 1990, which fits very well with the resuscitation of the NBA Hoops brand. Austin Rivers, I should mention, is the son of former player and current Celtics coach Doc Rivers.


I don't actually know who John Henson is, but he really wants you to know that he belongs in the draft and isn't some dude who happened to be wearing snappy clothing and sneaked in the back door.


One of the only good things about the last abomination of a season was the new Wizards uniforms. They're fantastic. I hope they never change, though I've never been sold on the Wizards name itself.


Booooooooooooo. Karl Malone is the enemy. Every NBA set seems to like to pad its numbers with past stars, but Malone was the only retired player that I got in my jumbo pack.


From one of my least favorite players of years past to one of my least favorites of present day, here's "El Heat" forward LeBron James. I won't own this card long, I can assure you.


As I mentioned last week, I received a bunch of Blazers cards recently from Life and Baseball Cards. I figured since I was already on the subject, I'd show off some of the goods from that portion of the trade.


There's going to be a lot riding on the shoulders of LaMarcus Aldridge now with the Blazers effectively in rebuilding mode. Can Aldridge withstand the possibility of some of his peak years being wasted on a team that doesn't have much hope of making noise in the playoffs, let alone making the playoffs at all? He's already tasted the playoffs twice in his career. I am fearful of him becoming the next Kevin Garnett, who couldn't ever get over the hump with a shallow supporting cast in Minnesota during his prime before moving to Boston to win in his twilight years. I am also fearful of him realizing the situation he is in and wanting out. After all, it seems to be a pretty popular sentiment in the NBA right now.


This is a great card. Rainbow lasers are shooting out of Buck. One of the unfortunate turns of events in Portland is the complete overhaul of the coaching staff, which came as a result of Nate McMillan's firing last season. One of his assistants was Buck Williams, a nice link to fond past memories. It's too bad that they aren't really keeping any of these guys around now under new head coach Terry Stotts.
  

Last season also marked the comeback and the end of Joel Przybilla's career as a Blazer. He probably doesn't have many more meaningful NBA minutes in him, which is weird thing to say about someone who is a gifted professional athlete and four (!) years younger than me. On an unrelated now, I am sad now.


Sergio Rodriguez played in the Olympics? Sergio Rodriguez played in the Olympics!


This man had his own book and movie before he ever set foot on an NBA court. His Wikipedia entry is rather fascinating. I'm not sure why the first sentence in the section on his NBA career is just some random sentence about some stats he accumulated in one game, but who am I to criticize Wikipedia editors?


I'm also fascinated by this Rookie Slam! card. Martell Webster is a good dude. I root for them, even though he plays or most recently has played for a division rival.


Lonestarr included some jersey cards in the Blazers mix, which was a really nice surprise. Here's a pensive looking Greg Oden who at the time had still yet to take the court in a NBA uniform. Yet, he has a "game used" jersey swatch somehow. I feel like Oden made this face a lot.


This jersey design from Panini is kind of a cool concept. It's supposedly an actual piece of the uniform Webster wore during the Blazers Christmas Day game in 2009, when the Blazers beat the Nuggets on national TV. I probably should have saved it for the holiday, though.


And finally, here's a non-Blazer card. Aaron Brooks is a former Oregon Duck, one of the few that is still active (along with Luke Ridnour and Ivan Johnson - I guess?)

5 comments:

The Diamond King said...

Are you actually in/near Portland? If so, are you going to the card show Saturday?

TSHenson said...

I will be more than happy to take the Lebron James card and any others you have of him off your hands. I really think I am the only Lebron fan left in Ohio. Thanks for the latest package of cards! You always do good in your packages. Tim

madding said...

I usually try to catch the card show, but I am going to have to miss it this month as I'm headed to the Ducks game that day.

The Diamond King said...

Lucky! I just think it's cool to meet other loggers in person. Enjoy the game!

Fuji said...

I admire any fan who stays loyal to their team through thick and thin.

The past few years, I've lost interest in the NBA after being a huge fan of the sport since the early 80's.

I once was a longtime Los Angeles Lakers fan... yes, I picked them in my childhood because they were fun to watch and they continuously won championships. I stuck with them close to thirty years, but it reached the point where it wasn't fun to watch them. When anything less than a championship is a disappointment, there's something wrong.

So what did I do? I switched to my local team. The team that always took a back seat to Magic & Kobe... the Golden State Warriors.

They might not win a lot of games, but at least they're fun to watch. More importantly... nobody expects them to win the title. How can they when they're up against teams like the Heat and Lakers... who have all-star rosters.

Parity in sports is one of those things that you either love or hate. Personally... if the NBA doesn't find it soon, they may end up losing this fan altogether.

Until that happens... Go Warriors!