Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Porter's No. 30 Rises To the Rafters
The inner bowl of the Rose Garden clears out pretty fast during a typical halftime intermission, but on Tuesday night, the Portland crowd remained in their seats to witness Terry Porter’s No. 30 raised to the rafters.
Porter, who thanked his parents, fellow players and fans during his acceptance speech, let loose with a “Rip City Baby!” as he took the mic to speak about the honor of having his number retired.
Many of the players who ran the floor with Porter at the old Memorial Coliseum, including Buck Williams, Jerome Kersey and Wayne Cooper, collected at midcourt to pay tribute to their friend and former teammate. Most of the memories reminisced upon focused on the Western Conference championship teams of 1990 and 1992, teams that are considered among the greatest in Trail Blazers history.
“If I had to pick one memory, it would be the year we made it to the Finals the first time,” said Porter. ”We had picked up Buck, we got Kevin and there were a lot of questions about the makeup of that team and how we were going to come together.
“As that year went on we got better and better and more and more comfortable with each other. Finishing out in Phoenix then going into the locker room and having the excitement of all of us going to our first NBA Finals, that was probable my best individual memory.”
Porter remains Portland’s all-time leader in assists and three-point field goals. Only Clyde Drexler, who took a couple playful shots at this old teammate in a video taped message, played more minutes, scored more points, had more steals and made more free throws than Porter.
Porter, a former non-scholarship athlete at University of Wisconsin Steven’s Point, made numerous references to the humbling experiences of having his number among other Trail Blazers great like Bill Walton, Maurice Lucas and Drexler.
“I just think that whenever you’re blessed to play this sport, you always like to be recognized for your service,” said Porter. “Everybody wants to be recognized for their service, especially when they think they’ve done something well.
“When you think about me, coming from Stevens Point, I think the one thing that got me to this point was my ability to work hard, my work ethic. I always strived to be the best player I could be, always trying to do the best things for my team. So from that standpoint, I hope people remember me as someone who appreciated the game and put everything he could into the game and maximized his talents. Couldn’t jump, didn’t have quick speed, but was still able to achieve a lot with the talent I had.”