Carmelo Anthony went public Friday with his desire to wear No. 7 this season with the Trail Blazers. And it astounds me that there is any controversy about giving it to him -- even though it was once worn (but never retired) by Brandon Roy.
Without demeaning Roy and his contributions to the Trail Blazers, I just don’t think numbers should be that sacred anymore.
The whole idea of retired numbers has always amused me. Maybe in the days before players’ names were printed on the backs of uniforms -- in all sports -- the numbers meant something.
But the Trail Blazers have retired too many of them already. Look, Terry Porter wore No. 30 in Portland, Bob Gross’s old number. That number is retired now in honor of both players.
My idea is that teams need to junk the whole number part of it and create what a lot of football teams have done -- a ring of honor or a team Hall of Fame. This also makes it easier for teams to honor people who never wore a uniform.
We would all rather be identified by name rather than a number, right?
Portland retired No, 77 for Jack Ramsay, because 1977 was the year his team won a championship. Larry Weinberg was part of the first ownership group of the Trail Blazers and there’s a No. 1 up in the rafters for him.
Bill Schonely is up there, too, but the only number The Schonz ever had was a phone number.
And when you honor Paul Allen -- which is overdue -- what number will he get?
Just forget about the numbers. It’s an out-dated, silly thing.
Melo has worn No. 7 through most of his career, wants it and should have it. A player of his stature should be granted that wish, particularly after deciding to sign on for another season here. With Carmelo Anthony, who often wears a baseball cap with 7 on the front, I think that number is part of his brand, which should be respected.
I don’t need to know Bill Walton’s number to appreciate what he did for this franchise. It’s not relevant. Just put his name -- and maybe his picture -- up on a banner or a wall somewhere and call it good. The idea is to honor the person and not the number.
The reality of the situation is that uniform numbers matter most to the person wearing them. There is very often a superstition at work. Which can lead to a comfort level.
But just because you wear a number for a few seasons, it probably doesn't mean you should own those digits for life. When you are done with them, why not allow someone else to use them?
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