By Joe Becker
How many times have you heard anyone say the Blazers are number one in the last few years...and mean it? Blazermania is back! The Blazers have the number one pick in the NBA draft. How lucky is that....the Blazers had about a 5 in 100 chance to jump to number one...and they got it.
Ace Sports Photographer Brian Warner and I were at the Blazers Draft Party at "The Venue" in North East Portland and what a wild scene. Hundreds of Blazer fans gathered to watch the Lottery on ESPN. The Blazers Broadcast team was live on the radio. As every position was announced...the fans cheered louder and louder.
I said it on the newscast during the 6pm news...other than a game...it was the most exciting thing I have covered with the Blazers in more than 20 years.
The fans were going crazy...it was a blast. I'm told it was the same way in the KGW newsroom. The celebration lasted about a minute...and then the staff had to make some quick decisions on how to best cover news...which was now the biggest story of the day. We led the newscast with the Draft Lottery. Adam covered the Draft news from the newsroom camera and I went live with the pandemonium at the Blazers Party.
Blazers Guard Fred Jones was there...and was as excited as the fans, saying "...it's going to be really big for the city. The city is going to hopefully come out and embrace this team now and get to know one of these kids coming in." Fred also told me he can't wait to get it going.
How important is a really good number one pick? The Blazers picked Bill Walton number one in 1974 and three years later won the NBA Title. The Spurs picked Tim Duncan in 1997 and two years later won the NBA Title.
Ohio State Center Greg Oden is considered the best player in the draft...and my guess is that he is the man the Blazers will pick.
The Blazers were the butt of jokes for a few years...but the Pride is back in Portland...and yes, the Blazers are number one come the NBA Draft on June 28.