More Information about the Portland Trail Blazers
The Portland Trail Blazers, informally known as the Blazers, were one of the NBA’s expansion teams in the 1970s. As their following has increased over the years, they’re currently the Pacific Northwest’s only NBA franchise, after the Grizzlies left for Nashville and the SuperSonics became the Oklahoma City Thunder, and play in the Western Conference Northwest Division.
As the NBA expanded its roster of teams in the 1960s and ‘70s, the league selected Portland as a location, although the campaign to bring one to the Oregon city began as early as 1955. The Blazers kicked off their first season in 1970, but for the first six years, the team performed so poorly they didn’t make the playoffs.
But, the Blazers had better luck after the NBA-ABA merger. Around this time, they drafted Maurice Lucas, considered their first star player of many, and Jack Ramsay came on as head coach. Better performance drew bigger crowds, and starting in 1977 and lasting until 1995, the Blazers sold out 814 straight games – the longest streak of any American professional basketball franchise.
During these early years, the Blazers played at Memorial Coliseum until 1995. After that season, they switched to the Moda Center and continue to hold games there.
While the Blazers have won one NBA Championship, in 1977, the team has attracted top talent during its 45-plus years. Six current Basketball Hall of Fame players have spent time in the Blazers – Lenny Wilkens, Bill Walton, Clyde Drexler, Dražen Petrović, Arvydas Sabonis, and Scottie Pippen. Further, four of its rookie players, including Geoff Petrie, Sidney Wicks, Brandon Roy, and Damian Lillard, have gone onto win Rookie of the Year awards.
In addition to these successes, the Blazers qualified for the finals and took home three conference titles, in 1977, 1990, and 1992, and have five division titles, with the last occurring in 2015. As well, they’ve qualified for the playoffs 31 times, including every year from 1983 to 2003 – the second-longest streak of any NBA team.
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