Blazermania on the Mind
Forty years ago, the Portland Trail Blazers in their sixth year as a professional basketball team finished last in the Pacific Division – dead last. However, thirty-nine years ago, they went on to win the NBA Championship defeating the Dream Team of their era, the Philadelphia 76ers.
It was the year of 1977. It was the season of destiny. It was the season of true five-man play. It was the season of Blazermania.
“Blazermania” is not something that was exclusive to the court. The court was where Blazermania was funneled, but it lived and breathed in the stands, through the streets and in all the homes of the Rose City. Blazermania was when sports fans became sports fans and won and lost with their home team.
The ’77 Trail Blazers didn’t just bring a championship to Portland; they brought an epic chapter to sport history books everywhere– the chapter of the upset. The come-from-behind underdog upset by a team that was carried to the confetti by the roaring cheers of their city.
On paper, the Trail Blazers shouldn’t have won the trophy. They probably shouldn’t have even been in the dance. It was Jack Ramsay’s first year with the squad as head coach. “The Mountain Man” Bill Walton was still battling injury. And Maurice “The Enforcer” Lucas, a nickname that came to life in game two of the series, had just joined the team after the disbanding of the ABA.
But there was something in the air, that foggy overcast Portland air that brought this team and town together. The ’77 Blazers were an all hands on deck team. They were new to each other but still each player functioned like a limb of the same short shorts, high sock wearing body. That’s how they dismantled Goliath even with being two games down in the Finals, to go on to win four straight to clinch the title.
On paper, they should have made a second round exit at best. But stats don’t make history, if they did someone in Philadelphia would be writing this story. It’s when those stats are broken, that history is made. That’s the paper we care about. That’s the story of destiny that we love and are rubbing our palms together to see again.
The ’77 Portland team is still the youngest team in history to ever win an NBA Championship. The average age on the team was 24. This year, we again have a very young team – the third youngest in the league, however, tied to the decimal with our ’77 rivals, the 76ers.
Is this the year Damian Lillard takes his crown? There’s something in the air…
Blazermania may have been born 40 years ago, but diehard fandom is something that has never left the Rose City. As we enter the NBA Playoffs, there is no better time to pay homage to our team, to fill our town with the mania of old and win and lose with our boys on the hardwood. We love being part of the story of our town, so Grafletics is releasing our ’77 cap to keep Blazermania on the mind as we march toward the trophy.
Let’s go Blazers!