With the retirement last week of former Trail Blazer LaMarcus Aldridge, the conversation quickly turned to whether the team will retire his number.
After all, for a franchise that has won only one championship there is already a lot of laundry hanging in the rafters of Moda Center.
Portland has retired the numbers of 10 players, a coach, an owner and a broadcaster.
The complete list:
(1) Larry Weinberg (team’s first owner)
(13) Dave Twardzik
(14) Lionel Hollins
(15) Larry Steele
(20) Maurice Lucas
(22) Clyde Drexler
(30) Bob Gross
(30) Terry Porter
(32) Bill Walton
(35) Lloyd Neal
(45) Geoff Petrie
(77) Jack Ramsay (coach of title team)
(Microphone) Bill Schonely (broadcaster)
Does Aldridge belong on this list? Well, I believe he does and is sure to have his No. 12 hanging from the ceiling in the arena.
But how does the team decide whose numbers to retire? Who makes that call?
Chris McGowan, president and chief executive officer of the Trail Blazers, says several people weigh in on prospective candidates.
“Every player is case by case,” McGowan said. “And it's an organizational decision. That would be inclusive of Jody (Allen), Neil (Olshey), Burt (Kolde), myself and other key people within the organization.”
Obviously, all teams have a lot to consider when retiring numbers and the criteria probably varies widely between organizations.
Talent is a big part of it, obviously. But team success, length of time spent with the organization, contributions off the court – all of them can be considered in various degrees of importance.
In Portland, for instance, there is no question that players who were a part of the franchise’s only championship in 1977 have been granted more importance.
Aldridge’s time will likely come, though. He spent nine seasons with the Trail Blazers, averaged 19.4 points per game, hardly ever missed a game and contributed frequently off the court.
I’m obviously not a part of the team’s decision-making process, but I’d be shocked if that No. 12 isn’t hanging from the ceiling soon.