For former Trail Blazer players, this 2019-20 season will be extra special.
But let’s be honest, it’s going to be extra special for all of Rip City, as the Portland Trail Blazers celebrate their 50th year in the NBA.
The celebration began on Monday.
The Trail Blazers 50th anniversary court was revealed Monday night in the Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum. Portland will be playing on the nostalgic court every home game this season.
For Michael Holton, who wore a Trail Blazers uniform from 1986-1988, as well as Terry Porter, who was drafted by the Blazers in 1985, this unveiling of the special 50th Anniversary court in the Memorial Coliseum quickly brought back fond memories.
“To have the unveiling of the court here is significant in a lot of ways,” Holton reminisced. “There are so many Trail Blazer fan memories in this building that I think fans will connect with when the court is here… And then when the court transfers over to Moda [Center].”
Portland will play its first preseason game this season in the Veterans Memorial Coliseum, which currently hosts over 150 events per year, from concerts to WHL Portland Winterhawks games. The coliseum is now the oldest part of the Rose Quarter area after it was home to the Trail Blazers from 1970 to 1995.
“This brings back some great memories coming in here,” Porter said.
Porter continued, “It’s where my career really developed and came about, so it’s a pretty special building for me.”
This season will not only be about celebrating 50 years as a franchise in the NBA, but also about reflecting on the past five decades.
“It’s historic and it’s significant,” Holton said. “I have enough life experience to know that when you reach certain milestones you’ve got to pause… You have to reflect. We get so preoccupied with looking forward and how good is the team going to be this year and what’s going to happen, that sometimes you have to pause, catch your breath and look back so that you have proper perspective.”
Yes, the 50th anniversary can bring about some Trail Blazers education.
“This is an opportunity for the more senior Blazer fans to share with the next generation… some of the history,” Holton said with a smile.
The Moda Center replaced the Coliseum as the home of the Blazers in 1995. The Moda Center will now be the host of a big celebration coinciding with the Blazers 2019-20 season.
Porter is excited to catch up with old teammates who will be making a trip to Rip City for the big milestone.
“I’m looking forward to seeing them and just reminisce,” Porter said. “Talk about the old times and talk about the bus rides, and the losses and the wins, the coaches, and the practices where we had guys getting after each other a little bit.”