How do we curb our expectations for Anfernee Simons?

How do we curb our expectations for Anfernee Simons?

Seth Curry had a good enough season last year for the Portland Trail Blazers that he garnered a huge, 4-year contract with the Dallas Mavericks worth $32 million. With Curry now in Texas, second year Blazers guard Anfernee Simons is set to step up in a big way as the backup for Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. Sights are set high for Simons, who has drawn attention from around the league. General Manager Neil Olshey has said of Simons that, “He's as talented as anyone we've ever drafted since I've been here.”

But set aside all the hype around Simons for a minute: the truth is that Portland needs him to perform.

Last season for the Blazers, Simons was a lengthy and interesting athletic scorer who was at the heart of one of the most memorable regular season feats in recent memory. In the last game of the year against the Sacramento Kings, Simons exploded for 37 points in a win that propelled the Blazers into a playoff bracket that did not include the Golden State Warriors. Although Terry Stotts and his staff appeared to be trying to lose the game, Simons’ outburst was arguably what aligned Portland’s run to the Western Conference Finals in 2019.

All that aside, Simons did show some offensive bursts during his 12 games of play last year. He shot 43% of his field goal attempts from beyond the 3-point line, with an effective field goal percentage of 59%. Simons didn't attack the rim with much tenacity — he went to the bucket just 22% of the time — but when he did, he was absolutely lights out at 86%.

For us in the external viewing world, much of this can be taken with a humongous, Big Pink-sized lump of salt. The sample size, as they say, is extremely small for Simons in the NBA. There's not much to suggest that he is ready to take on roll occupied by Curry based off of his NBA performances.

There's also something to be said about what Simons lacks. As a 20-year-old, he’s still getting a feel for the game. It will take him some time to get up to speed on defense, although as a backup player that will be less relied upon in 2019-20. Simons has not yet filled out, and his defensive box plus-minus from last year left something to be desired — specifically given that he played against third-string players. But there are some positives when it comes to Simons’ defense, too. His foul rate isn't particularly egregious, and his ridiculous wingspan should allow for him to grow into a defensive presence in the future.

As a team, Portland is going to be much different defensively this year. Gone are both Maurice Harkless and Al-Farouq Aminu, two of the Blazers’ most important defenders. In their place will be Rodney Hood, Kent Bazemore, and Zach Collins. That's before we even get to the Jusuf Nurkic-for-Hassan Whiteside swap, which has all kinds of connotations both statistically and from an on-off perspective.

If you were planning on the Blazers being a worse defensive team this season, that's probably the right call. Forget the fact that Portland lost some of its most important defenders — they just have too many new faces to be a top-notch defensive team right away. And while defense could mean a serious change in where the Blazers land in the playoff race this season, it's unlikely that Simons would have made an impact there one way or another.

Simon said this summer that the game has started to slow down for him, and that he's trying to work on both pace and making sure he's acting as a point guard and not just as a scoring ball-handler. Stotts has to also make sure that Simons is looking at his return on the defensive end. These are all good signs for 2019-20.

Portland fans are riding high after that Western Conference Finals run last season, and the team has publicly stated that their goal is to return back to that level or higher. Fans around town seem hopeful that they can reproduce the same kind of magic, particularly once Nurkic returns from injury. The height to clear that bar might be untenable, and for Simons that could spell trouble.

The Blazers have typically stocked a useful veteran ball handler behind Lillard and McCollum, but this season will be all on Simons. Fans should expect to see a lot of him... and a lot of mistakes. As a young guard in the NBA, his biggest deficiency will be in passing choice when it comes to turnovers and defensive lapses as it relates to guarding increasingly better players.

But Simons is a thoughtful kid, and the team culture here in Portland should produce some positives, too. In particular, I think we'll see less of the singularly-minded, attacking Simons that we seen in the past. Instead, I expect him to be a director of men out on the floor, and an ample 3-point shooting threat as a release valve.

For now, this is the best roster that Olshey could put together. Aminu and Harkless are gone, and in many ways this is the team that many have been clamoring for. It’s time to fish or cut bait, and Olshey decided to cut bait. Now a vocal chorus will get their wish, to see the young Simons in a featured role. It could be a bumpy ride, not just for Simons but for the team. The odds have been stacked against Blazers guards before, and the only way to see what you’ve got is to play the minutes.

Simons will get plenty of those this year.

Trail Blazers documentary featuring the 1989-92 team set to air-- here's the details

Trail Blazers documentary featuring the 1989-92 team set to air-- here's the details

On the heels of The Last Dance sweeping the nation, it looks like NBA TV will attempt to capitalize on that wave. 

The network aired an advertisement for Basketball Stories: Rip City Revival during "The Match: Champions for Charity" golf match with Tom Brady and Phil Mickelson facing off against Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning. 

You can watch the trailer here

The documentary, set to air on Sunday, May 31 at 5:00 p.m. PT on. NBA TV, will tell "the untold stories behind the 1989-92 Portland Trail Blazers." 

The documentary secured interviews from Clyde Drexler, Terry Porter, Isaiah Thomas, and more to detail arguably the best three-season stretch in franchise history. 

It will be the next episode of the Basketball Stories series on the network that has previously released episodes on Kobe Bryant, the 2000 Slam Dunk Contest, the 1988 Slam Dunk Contest and the 2010 decade and aims to "take fans down memory lane featuring incredible moments, stories and conversations from the greatest to ever play the game."

The documentary will cover the Portland Trail Blazers teams that won the western conference in 1990 and 1992 before losing to the Detroit Pistons and Chicago Bulls respectively. It'll also presumingly cover the 1990 Western Conference Finals defeat to the Los Angeles Lakers that many feel cost the Blazers a second franchise championship. 

NBA TV has previously put out critically acclaimed documentaries such as Dream Team, Clutch City, and more. 

Be sure to check out the full Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with host NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon.

Nidal Nasser becomes first 2K League player to earn solo endorsement

Nidal Nasser becomes first 2K League player to earn solo endorsement

Nidal "Mama Im Dat Man" Nasser is just 22-years-old, but the NBA 2K League star is reaching heights that no other player in league history has seen before.

Nasser was one of the best players in the league in Season 1, was named league MVP in Season 2, and is averaging more than 30 points and putting together another MVP campaign in Season 3. 

All that success has not gone unnoticed.

It was announced on Friday, May 23, that basketball apparel company POINT 3 Basketball had signed Nasser to an endorsement deal. 

In doing so, Nasser becomes the first player in NBA 2K League history to sign a solo endorsement deal.  

The Blazer5 star took to social media to make the announcement and thank those that have made it all possible.

POINT 3's apparel is specifically designed to absorb sweat and keep athletes dry, something that comes in handy in eSports. The last thing a gamer wants is sweaty palms, and POINT 3 can help address the matter.

Said Nasser in an interview with ESPN, "There's moments throughout the game where your hand just becomes so moist, because you're gripping on the controller so hard, you don't realize it... The grip you have on your controller allows you to make those quicker reflexes. It's so hard to explain, but that's the biggest difference. It's kind of like a gaming edge."

The move is big for not only Nasser, but for the NBA 2K League as a whole. It could provide the framework for other players to seek solo deals as well, bringing in a revenue stream for gamers that was once thought impossible. 

Many of our parents told us otherwise, but Nasser is proving to the masses that you can make money and make a living playing video games.

Be sure to check out the full Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with host NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon.

NBA in talks with Disney to resume season late July in Orlando

NBA in talks with Disney to resume season late July in Orlando

The NBA continues to take steps towards getting back out onto the floor.

Saturday morning, NBA spokesperson Mike Bass stated the NBA was in talks with Disney about playing out the remainder of the season at its ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida.

"The NBA, in conjunction with the National Basketball Players Association, is engaged in exploratory conversations with The Walt Disney Company about restarting the 2019-20 NBA season in late July at Disney's ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Florida as a single site for an NBA campus for games, practices and housing," Bass said. "Our priority continues to be the health and safety of all involved, and we are working with public health experts and government officials on a comprehensive set of guidelines to ensure that appropriate medical protocols and protections are in place."

According to ABC News, another subsidiary company of Disney, it's unclear if the NBA will play out the remainder of the regular-season or go straight to the postseason. According to Keith Smith, Disney wants to host the NBA as long as the league needs and will "be ready when they need us to be."

The NBA season has been indefinitely suspended since March 11th when Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19 just before the Jazz tipped off against Oklahoma City. Progress towards playing games has been minimal since then due to the lack of certainty around the timeline of the pandemic and the ability to secure the mass testing necessary to conduct games.

Heading straight into the postseason would mean NBA players would most likely miss out on a significant portion of their pay.

In Early April, Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum said that the players were "on pace to lose about 23.5 percent of income of this season." Then, on April 17, the NBA and NBA Player's Association agreed to have future paychecks be reduced by 25% to account for the season's suspension. 

In May, the NBA began reopening team facilities for players to workout under strict safety conditions such as only individual workouts, social distancing of 12 feet, players must wear face masks at all times, except when engaged in physical activity, staffers working with players must wear gloves, no more than four players in the facility at a time and one per basket, and each team must assign one senior executive to the position of “Facility Hygiene Officer.”

Portland was one of the first teams to open their facilities’ doors

When it opened on May 8 a total of nine players out of the 11 who are still in the area showed up to use the Trail Blazers practice facility. Anfernee Simons, Trevor Ariza and Hassan Whiteside are all not currently in Portland but will be recalled back in early June.

Walt Disney World and Las Vegas have been the two leading contenders for the NBA to finish out the season but it appears like the league will be Orlando bound.

Trail Blazers shooting guard CJ McCollum has said multiple times that he is in favor of the idea of playing out the rest of the season at a single site.

If it's safe and they're able to pull it off, I wouldn't mind playing in one city. It'd kind of give you those NCAA Tournament vibes a little bit. -- CJ McCollum

He had expressed concerns at playing in Vegas stating “I think if you did it in Las Vegas you’d have to shut down the strip. I don’t know where you could find an area that’s completely isolated from outsiders. And that’s the problem that I think MLB and most sports are facing.”

For the Blazers to continue their season, the league would need to play games leading up to the postseason, such as finishing out the regular-season or having a play-in tournament to determine the final playoff berths. Portland currently sits 3.5 games behind the Memphis Grizzlies for the eighth seed in the Western Conference. 

Be sure to check out the full Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with host NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon.

Why the Portland Trail Blazers were the bigger threat than the Memphis Grizzlies in playoff picture

Why the Portland Trail Blazers were the bigger threat than the Memphis Grizzlies in playoff picture

With just 17 games remaining on the 2019-20 NBA regular season schedule, before the season was indefinitely suspended, the playoff picture was beginning to take shape. 

The Western Conference, per usual, was more difficult to see what the postseason would look like with so much talent and just the Los Angeles Lakers had clinched a playoff berth by the time of the suspension.

Every game mattered towards the bottom of the Western Conference playoff picture with several teams in a tight race for the eighth spot: Memphis Grizzlies (32-33); Portland Trail Blazers (29-37); New Orleans Pelicans (28-36); Sacramento Kings (28-36); San Antonio Spurs (27-36) and Phoenix Suns (26-39).

Whoever that eighth seed would have been, would have had a date with LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round. We do know one thing, LeBron didn’t want that date to be with Damian Lillard.

I know this, the Lakers are a really good team and would rather see the Grizzlies than see the big, battle-tested, physical, veteran Trail Blazers. — Channing Frye

Here's what LeBron James said in March about running into Portland in the playoffs:

You got a Dame Lillard who can go for 50, a CJ McCollum that can score 40, a Carmelo Anthony that if he gets hot, which we know in the postseason could go for 35/40 as well... When you have that type of experience with Portland, they can make things happen. — LeBron James

[RELATED]: LeBron James thinks the Portland Trail Blazers would be a tough 8th seed to beat

He's not wrong and here's why:

One, remaining schedule.

There were 17 games remaining on the 2019-2020 NBA regular season schedule. Of those 17 games, Memphis was to play six teams with a below .500 record. Portland had nine out of 17 upcoming opponents under .500. 

Two, experience.

According to the 2019-2020 NBA roster survey, the Grizzlies are the sixth-youngest team in the NBA with an average age of 24.99 years old, slightly below the overall average of 26.18 years old. Portland’s average team age is 26.79 years old.

Not to forget that The Bosnian Beast Jusuf Nurkic was one game away from making his highly-anticipated debut back to the court following a gruesome injury last season just before the pandemic hit. The Blazers would have had Nurk playing down the stretch. Plus, Zach Collins was close to return following his shoulder injury earlier this season. 

Obviously, when you think about the Portland Trail Blazers, nobody gets a bigger jolt from where they were roster-wise from when this thing stopped to when they’ll resume with Nurkic and Zach Collins being available. No one gets a bugger jolt to their rotation than the Portland Trail Blazers. — Dan Sheldon 

And there’s no film on them. So now you’re like ‘Hey Hassan Whiteside you start, bring big Nurk off the bench.’ I don’t care what team, that’s a ridiculous one-two punch. Or visa versa depending on what’s best for your team. — Channing Frye

Ridiculous indeed, but for now, Rip City and the rest of the NBA will just have to patiently wait for that time to come.

Also, just a friendly reminder of what happened the last time Portland played Los Angeles:

Be sure to check out the full Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with host NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon.

There was nobody like the great Jerry Sloan -- and there still isn't

There was nobody like the great Jerry Sloan -- and there still isn't

The Utah Jazz announced today that former coach Jerry Sloan has died at the age of 78. He had been battling Parkinson’s disease and Lewy body dementia for several years.

And battling is what Sloan did most of his life.

He was a fighter as an NBA player, when he was in the tough-as-nails Chicago Bulls’ backcourt alongside Norm Van Lier. As a coach with the Utah Jazz, he preached a physical approach to the game and was as feisty as any NBA coach has ever been. I saw him square off with former teammate and Blazer Coach Rick Adelman after a summer-league game in Salt Lake City once -- neither man willing to back off. And of course, they were great friends.

You won’t find many people who don’t think he was a better human than coach. And he was a Hall of Fame coach. He was a wonderful, self-deprecating man with the kind of spirit you probably get from growing up as the youngest of 10 children raised by a single mother in the little town of Gobbler’s Knob, Ill. You get up at 4:30 in the morning to do farm chores and then walk two miles to school, you might just develop some character, too.

The writers loved him. He’d always pop into the media dining room a couple of hours before the game and enjoy a meal with us, so cordial to everyone -- whether you worked for the New York Times or the Sellwood Bee. I was fortunate to share a friendship with the Jazz trainer, the great Mike Shimensky, and Mike would always make sure I knew when and where Jerry and his top assistant Phil Johnson were going to be hanging out the night before a game in Portland. Usually, it was Champion’s at the Marriott, and I’d meet up with them for a night of nachos, wings, a few cold drinks and a lot of laughs.

The man was a storyteller of the highest order.

But he kept it real. And he trusted. He would talk openly about his team or yours, knowing you wouldn’t run out and share it with anyone.

That doesn’t happen much these days.

I watched several times as the Utah owner at the time, the late Larry Miller, jumped out of his courtside seat at halftime and followed his team into the locker room.

I asked Jerry if it bothered him to have his owner eavesdropping during the intermission.

“Not at all,” he said with a wide smile. “I want him to see what I have to deal with. I want him to know what’s going on in there. He can come in anytime he wants.”

That was Coach Sloan. Transparent. Nothing to hide. His teams seldom tried to trick you. Every team in the league knew what the Jazz would run. And they would run it so well you couldn’t stop it.

And if you couldn’t stop it, you might see the same thing 15 times in a row because that’s what worked. Pretty simple.

Jerry Sloan liked it that way. He was beloved within the NBA family and you will see that in the days to come, as those who knew him much better than I did, memorialize him. There was nobody like him.

Still isn’t.

Trail Blazers Classic Games have us reminiscing about Memorial Coliseum

Trail Blazers Classic Games have us reminiscing about Memorial Coliseum

I don't know about you, but having a chance to relive a handful of Trail Blazers classic games has been helping me get through the NBA hiatus.

It’s been fun to watch the best of the best from the Portland Trail Blazers.

Re-watching Game 4 of the 1992 NBA Finals battle between the Blazers and Chicago Bulls, makes me realize once again how intimate it was to witness a game at the Memorial Coliseum in Portland.

During the Game 4 broadcast, NBC’s Marv Albert mentioned it was, “hot and humid in Game 3,” in the Coliseum.

There’s no doubt arenas have come a long way and so has their air conditioning. Most arenas are frigid these days. 

When Portland was named as an expansion city back in 1970, the Memorial Coliseum became the team's home court. Its seating capability for basketball games was 12,666.

After the 1992 NBA Finals, construction began on the Rose Garden/Moda Center.

It wasn’t until 1995 that the new arena would open.

But man, there were so many great memories in the old building.

Three NBA Finals were played in the Coliseum. Of course, Portland won it all in 1977 -- that was probably the most memorable moment. Portland also played in the Finals in 1990 and 1992.

Not to mention, the 1992 Tournament of the Americas welcomed in the Dream Team to the Memorial Coliseum.

With the feeling of the fans right on top of the court, homecourt advantage was pretty special in the Memorial Coliseum.

Watching the 1990 NBA Finals Classic game earlier this spring, re-airing on NBCSNW, that game had many in Rip City reminiscing about what it was like to watch games in that building.

As part of the Blazer’s 40th anniversary celebration, they played a preseason game at Memorial Coliseum on October 14, 2009, when the Phoenix Suns made a visit to Portland. And then to celebrate the franchise’s 50th Anniversary this past season, the Blazers hosted the Denver Nuggets at the Memorial Coliseum on October 8th of this season for an exhibition game.

Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts had memories flooding back to him before that preseason contest.

Portland has always been a great venue. Whether it’s here or at Moda Center. It’s sold out. The fans are always good… It was a tough place to play. – Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts back on Oct. 8, 2019

And, it wasn’t just great basketball played in the Coliseum.

From November 30 through December 2 in 2007, the Memorial Coliseum hosted the 2007 Davis Cup Tennis final between the USA and Russia.

Plus, we haven’t mentioned the superstar musical performers that put on shows at the Coliseum.

  • The Beatles (1965)
  • Led Zeppelin (1970, 1972)
  • Elvis Presley (1970, 1973)
  • The Bee Gees (1979)

There’s so much history within the walls of the VMC. I just wish I would've been able to watch an NBA Finals game in that building.  

Be sure to check out the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with hosts NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon.

Memories from Trail Blazers-Bulls 1992 NBA Finals Game 4

Getty Images

Memories from Trail Blazers-Bulls 1992 NBA Finals Game 4

Have you had enough of Michael Jordan yet? Or maybe have you had enough of watching him win games, especially over the Trail Blazers?

Well, have we got a game for you.

Tonight’s Trail Blazer classic is Game 4 of the 1992 NBA Finals in Memorial Coliseum -- when the Trail Blazers rallied from a 22-9 deficit at the onset of the game to win 93-88 and even the series at two games apiece.

Portland closed the game on a 15-6 run, to the delight of the frenzied, sellout MC crowd.

And the amazing thing about the Trail Blazers’ late run is that they held arguably the greatest closer in NBA history, Jordan, scoreless over the final 10:26 of the game.

Funny, but that span of the Finals wasn’t a part of the footage for “The Last Dance.”

The Blazers got big contributions from several players. Clyde Drexler had 21 points, eight rebounds and nine assists. Jerome Kersey also had 21 points, making eight of his 12 shots. Terry Porter hit five of his 10 shots and scored 14 to go with six rebounds and four assists. Clifford Robinson had 17 off the bench and Kevin Duckworth secured 11 rebounds.

Jordan finished with a game-high 32 points but needed 26 shots to do it.

Portland won the rebound battle 45-33.

HOW TO WATCH: Trail Blazers vs. Bulls Game 4, June 10, 1992

WHEN: Thursday, May 21 at 6:30pm 

Channel: NBC Sports Northwest, Channel 737 (Portland), 617 (Seattle)


Stream the game here.  

Or stream the game on your phone with the 'MyTeams' App -- available in the App Store for iPhones and on Google play. 

Be sure to check out the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with hosts NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon.

What Carmelo Anthony learned about Michael Jordan after watching "The Last Dance"

What Carmelo Anthony learned about Michael Jordan after watching "The Last Dance"

Sundays may be less exciting after the conclusion of "The Last Dance," which featured Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls dynasty.

The discussion surrounding MJ, whether or not he's actually the greatest of all time, came with some hot takes and deeper reflection into the person that is a six-time NBA champion.

That reflection included Trail Blazers forward Carmelo Anthony, who already has an existing relationship with Jordan. Recently, Anthony shared one of his biggest takeaways from what he learned about Jordan after watching the doumentary series.

MJ is actually human, just like the rest of us.

“I realized he was human,” Melo said during an Instagram live session. “He was a human being, at the end of the day. No matter how big of a star you are, who you are, there is still something that can bring you back down. It can humble you.”

Anthony takes note of the fact that Jordan was the biggest and best thing in the world during the 90s and for him to take a step back from basketball really showed him that he is just like everyone else when things get too crazy in your life. 

For him to have that moment of vulnerability where he says ok you know what, enough is enough like this has really affected me I need to really go get my mind right now I’m losing my love for it. Let me take a step away from it, let me do something else,  let me get my spark back and then come back. That showed me, at the end of the day, he is human.

Anthony and Jordan can somewhat relate to one another in that matter. Before the Blazers added Melo to the roster, Melo was considering retirement as a possibility of no other team decided to offer him something.

As great as Jordan is, every athlete can take away the fact that even the great ones need to take a step away to get that spark back.

How to watch: Trail Blazers vs. Chicago Bulls in 1992 NBA Finals Game 4

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How to watch: Trail Blazers vs. Chicago Bulls in 1992 NBA Finals Game 4

It’s time to tie up the series with this Trial Blazers Classic Game!  

Despite Michael Jordan’s 32 points, the Trail Blazers evened the series at 2-2 after outscoring the Chicago Bulls 27-19 in the final quarter of Game 4.

The Trail Blazers beat the Bulls, 93-88 in front of a sold out Memorial Coliseum crowd in Portland and now you can re-live that Game 4 feeling on NBCSNW tonight.

Throughout the early 90 seasons the Portland Trail Blazers and Chicago Bull seemed destined to meet in the NBA Finals.

Of course, many comparisons were made between Clyde Drexler and Michael Jordan throughout the season much to the chagrin of Jordan himself.

Before the two met in the 1992 NBA Finals, Sports Illustrated had named Drexler, Jordan's "No. 1 rival."

There was so much hype surrounding this series.

The Blazers began their 1992 postseason run by defeating the Los Angeles Lakers 3–1 in the First Round and then proceeded to beat the Phoenix Suns 4–1, following that up with outlasting John Stockton and Karl Malone's Utah Jazz 4–2 in the Western Conference Finals. 

This was the Blazers second trip to the NBA Finals in three years.

Portland got out to a slow start in Game 4 similarly to the way they played in Game 3.

Jordan scored 13 of his 32 points in the third quarter, but he didn’t score at all in the final 10 minutes of action as Portland went on a 15–6 run to earn the come from behind victory.

The Bulls would go on to win the series in six as MJ was named Finals Most Valuable Player for the second year in a row.

During the 1991-92 season Drexler earned All-NBA First Team honors, while Buck Williams was named to the NBA’s All-Defensive Second Team.

Starters for Game 4 of the 1992 NBA Finals:


Michael Jordan

Horace Grant

Bill Cartwright

Scottie Pippen

John Paxson


Terry Porter

Jerome Kersey

Clyde Drexler

Buck Williams

Kevin Duckworth

HOW TO WATCH: Trail Blazers vs. Bulls Game 4, June 10, 1992

WHEN: Thursday, May 21 at 6:30pm 

Channel: NBC Sports Northwest, Channel 737 (Portland), 617 (Seattle)


Stream the game here.  

Or stream the game on your phone with the 'MyTeams' App -- available in the App Store for iPhones and on Google play. 

Be sure to check out the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with hosts NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon.