Jerome Kersey

Portland Trail Blazers' team chemistry in early 90s was just different

Portland Trail Blazers' team chemistry in early 90s was just different

Rip City has so many fond memories and moments that come to mind when looking back at the 1989-92 Trail Blazers seasons.

The early 90s teams were special on the court, no doubt, but their bond off the court may have been even more special.

“Those were fun times,” Terry Porter reminisced on NBA TV’s Trail Blazers documentary, ‘Rip City Revival.’ "There’s nothing like playing professional sports. You build a bond, a brotherhood, a willingness to protect each other, and you always have that.”

The final two segments of Sunday’s special on the 1989-92 Trail Blazers era focused on what made this Blazers squad so unique: their team chemistry.

As you know the longer you're with a group of guys, the more chemistry you develop, especially when you’re all really good friends and so that was the key to our success. -- Clyde Drexler on ‘Rip City Revival’

[RELATED]: 'Rip City Revival' was a Trail Blazer history lesson that left out a few chapters

During Portland’s 1989–90 campaign, the team posted a 59–23 record. They defeated the Dallas Mavericks, San Antonio Spurs, and Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference playoffs, before ultimately losing to the defending-champion Detroit Pistons.

In the 1990–91 season, the Blazers posted a 63–19 record, which was the best in the league and the best in franchise history. Their season ended in the West Finals when the Lakers defeated the Blazers 4–2.

As for the 1991–92 season, Portland repeated as Pacific Division champions as they dominated through the Western Conference playoffs. They met the Chicago Bulls in the Finals, losing 4–2, with the big storyline being Michael Jordan vs. Drexler.

[RELATED]: 'Rip City Revival' vs. 'The Last Dance': A different take on the 1992 NBA Finals

“The whole team, I mean that’s what made this team so unique, is the chemistry, the personnel,” Buck Williams said during the NBA TV special.

Drexler discussed how on the road they would hang out and go to movies together as a team. Porter reiterated that, adding this was a team that enjoyed hanging out with each other and would do so every chance they got. 

“What made it all go was trust, we trusted each other,” Williams added.

They had fun together.

“To have the success we had as a group and the excitement we brought this city and this state -- it is always going to be somewhere special in my heart. We grew up together on and off the court,” Porter said.

As Drexler put it, “That bond will keep you together for a lifetime.” 

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

Trail Blazers documentary 'Rip City Revival' premieres tonight on NBA TV

Trail Blazers documentary 'Rip City Revival' premieres tonight on NBA TV

NBA TV is set to premiere ‘Rip City Revival,’ an hour-long documentary celebrating the Portland Trail Blazers' 50th Anniversary, featuring Clyde Drexler, Terry Porter & Buck Williams. The special focuses on the team's 1989-92 era, highlighted by three straight Western Conference Finals appearances.

‘Rip City Revival, revisits Portland’s impressive 1989-92 era, on Sunday, May 31, at 5 p.m. PT on NBA TV.

The Trail Blazers special will include interviews with Drexler, Porter and Williams, among others. The documentary will also reflect on the tragic losses of their Trail Blazers teammates Jerome Kersey, Kevin Duckworth and Drazen Petrovic. 

In a recent USA Today interview, Drexler told USA TODAY Sports that he didn’t watch the Michael Jordan documentary ‘The Last Dance,’ as he previewed ‘Rip City Revival.’

"I didn't watch it. I lived it," Drexler said while laughing. "Hopefully down the road, I’ll get some opportunities to [watch it]."

Drexler spoke fondly of his time in Portland, though, especially when he talked about his former teammates.

I loved playing with those guys. They don’t get enough credit. That’s why I love 'Rip City Revival.' It talks about them and their contributions to the team. We were a real team. -- Clyde Drexler on his time in Portland

 

Drexler added, "To make it to the Finals back then, you had to be really, really good. We were fortunate always to be in the mix in those three years and have an outstanding chance to play for a title. If you’re in team sports, that’s all you can ask for. This is not an individual sport like tennis or golf."

Drexler was selected 14th by the Trail Blazers in the 1983 NBA Draft from the University of Houston. The following year, Portland drafted Jerome Kersey 46th overall from Longwood. Then came Porter as the Trail Blazers’ No. 24 overall pick in the 1985 draft out of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.

The NBA TV documentary touches on Porter and Kersey’s connection with both players making it to the next level after playing at small schools.

From 1989-92, Portland averaged 60 wins while surpassing Western Conference foes such as the Magic Johnson-led Lakers, the Utah Jazz, the Spurs and the Seattle SuperSonics.

Catch ‘Rip City Revival’ Sunday, May 31, at 5 p.m. pacific time on NBA TV.

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

Social media reacts to Trail Blazers 1990 clinching game vs. Spurs: "Loved the Coliseum games"

Social media reacts to Trail Blazers 1990 clinching game vs. Spurs: "Loved the Coliseum games"

Trail Blazers fans were eager to relive a 1990 overtime thriller.

It took the entire seven-game series and OT in Game 7, but the Trail Blazers were victorious in their 1990 NBA Western Conference Semi-Finals battle against the San Antonio Spurs with a final score of 108-105.

Rip City was talking about the 1990 Game 7 win throughout the day on social media as fans looked forward to watching this classic Memorial Coliseum game.

‘It was the most exciting game’ to attend in person from an ‘incredible series.'

Terry Porter helped the Blazers get off to a good start with Portland leading 31-24 after the first 12 minutes. He finished the first quarter with 13 points and three assists. For the game, Porter led all scorers with 36 points on 9-of-18 shooting.  

The continued love for TP was highlighted on Twitter.

Portland trailed by seven with two minutes to play, but a comeback was spearheaded by clutch shots from Jerome Kersey and Clyde Drexler.

Kersey finished with 21 points and was his usual spark-plug-self. Rip City reminisced about the late Jerome Kersey.

Many Trail Blazers fans have enjoyed the Classic Trail Blazers Games on NBCSNW because it’s like reliving their childhood. 

And, we can’t forget about the 1990s fans in attendance of Game 7 at Memorial Coliseum.

That place was going crazy!

There have been so many stories told about how loud it would get in the Coliseum. It was clear to see while rewatching Game 7 on television 30 years later that the MC was rocking back then.

The home team won all seven games of this Blazers-Spurs series.

Seeing the passionate Trail Blazers fans cheering for their hometown team in Game 7 proved once again how helpful it was (and still is) to have home-court advantage in Portland.