When the Portland Trail Blazers selected Greg Oden with the first pick in the 2007 NBA draft, he was supposed to pair team with the duo of LaMarcus Aldridge and Brandon Roy to form a trio that would help contend for titles for years to come.
In five years, Oden would only play in 82 games, dealing with a multitude of knee injuries and surgeries.
Brandon Roy would retire following the resolving of the NBA lockout last year as his knees had degenerated so much, he didnt think he could sustain the grind of a regular NBA season, let alone a condensed 66-game schedule.
LaMarcus Aldridge, diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome in 07, received heart surgery at the beginning of the season to evaluate the status of the electrical system of his heart.
While not as serious as one may think as Aldridge was relatively healthy this season before a slight labral tear in his hip forced season-ending hip surgery, the Trail Blazers -- going back to Sam Bowie and Bill Walton -- have had several players suffer serious lower body injuries and the thought that the franchise might be cursed isnt one that just floats around through the collective media and fan base.
As told to ESPNs Marc Stein, former Trail Blazer Marcus Camby says the curse is also discussed in the Portland locker room.
Q: You know those of us in the media throw around words like curse. But what about the players on that team? In the Blazers locker room, are guys asking: What next?
A: They might not want to admit it, but when I was there, my goodness, people were saying, Are we really snake-bit? Are we really cursed? Doubts and talks like that came about. Everybody just tried to brush it to one side and remain positive, but it was hard to escape because everybody was talking about it. Its hard to argue when it keeps happening year after year after year.
It took Portland some time to rid itself of the Jail Blazers tag, but it might take even longer to escape something serious enough to be labeled a curse.
Its a stigma that Cubs fans know all too well.
Pat Boyle is joined by Charlie Roumeliotis, Scott King, Nick Gismondi, Slavko Bekovic and Tony Gill to discuss the George Floyd murder, the protests around the country and how to be an active participant in the change for equality for all.
Listen here or below.
Blackhawks Talk Podcast
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Cardinals outfielder Dexter Fowler shared a story on his Instagram Tuesday of a time he was racially profiled while at a club with his then-Cubs teammates.
Fowler, who played on the North Side from 2015-16, explained how he wasn't allowed into a club in Arizona with other members of the Cubs because he was wearing a gold chain. He said he was dressed nice and added the profiling of his attire didn't apply to his teammates, some who were dressed more casually.
When the club turned Fowler away, the group, which included first baseman Anthony Rizzo, left to show their support for him.
'What can I do'
Let me tell you a little story
A club in AZ turned me away because I had a gold chain on. While my friends had on shorts & vans & flip flops.
I was dressed nicely.
[Anthony Rizzo] and my friends with the [Cubs] left the club for me.
That's what you can do. Every day. It happens. EVERY DAY. There are opportunities EVERY DAY to help enforce change.
Fowler has been outspoken on social media regarding racial profiling amid nationwide protests following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. He described the hardships black people endure due to racism in a heartfelt Instagram post on Thursday.
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Here’s the thing. I know it’s hard to fully grasp why black people are outraged. It’s hard to grasp unless you’ve seen people hold their purses tighter when you walk by, when you have people refer to you as “not black” when you’re not “ghetto”. When your parents have to give you a talk when you’re just a kid. “you can’t act like your white friends. you’ll get killed. they won’t” This is a generational discussion EVERY black family has. It terrifies you as a kid, and as an adult. You don’t understand why we know, those officers didn’t flinch at murdering that man, because he is black. The race card. We hold it. You tell us “it’s not about race” if we ever hold you to it. You don’t want us to have even that 1 bone chilling “privilege” of defense. You don’t want us to hold any privilege. We don’t hold the privilege of being a criminal, making a mistake, or simply taking a jog, the same as a white man, and being treated the same. He couldn’t breathe. He was murdered. They were gently fired from their jobs. This isn’t right. This can’t go on. (if you assume “you”, is you, and you’re upset about the generalization...... just think about that for a second)