PORTLAND, Ore. — NBA 2K announced Tuesday that it will feature six new Legendary teams in the 2020 edition of the popular video game series set to release Sept. 6.
One of those six teams is the 2009-10 Portland Trail Blazers.
Although the 2009-10 Blazers lost to Steve Nash and the Phoenix Suns in the first round of the playoffs, fans should feel some sort of nostalgia for the days of Andre Miller, Rip City legend Steve Blake, Marcus Camby and Joel Przybilla. Who could forget Rudy Fernandez, Juwan Howard, Travis Outlaw or Dante Cunningham? Portland even got 21 games out of Greg Oden that season, as well as two showings from former — and current — Trail Blazers legend Anthony Tolliver.
Those guys Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge were pretty good at basketball, too.
Admittedly, this team’s inclusion as a Legendary roster can confuse those who didn't witness it firsthand. This is a squad that fell to Steve Nash in six games after watching Oden fall for the final time earlier in the year. Roy only played 65 contests, and the Vanilla Gorilla was lost to a torn patellar tendon. Rudy Fernandez, once considered a high-upside albeit mysterious X-factor, underwhelmed at best and also fell victim to injury.
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To casual watchers on the outside looking in, this was a team that disappointed after a third-place Western Conference finish. Throughout the city of Portland, this roster represented the beginning of the end, another "what if?"
For those who love to loathe the team for which they long, you’ll remember this was also the year RLEC came and went with as much disappointment as it had promise. Raef LaFrentz’s Expiring Contract was a $12.7 million golden ticket. Trade-block mainstays Vince Carter, Richard Jefferson, Gerald Wallace and Luol Deng were seemingly up for the taking, and Portland failed to trade the final months of a contract that was 80% paid-for by insurance.
LaFrentz remained on the team, continued playing zero games brilliantly, and the Blazers went on to implode almost two years to the day following their failed 2009 deadline.
Well, that got dark. Let's bring this back home.
Portland's dynasty that never was may have fallen apart shortly after that season, but the talent on this team was undisputed. The Blazers were considered fringe title contenders entering the year, and despite a No. 30 pace under Nate McMillan, Roy and Co. carved apart defenses to the tune of a No. 7 offensive rating, per Basketball Reference.
The fans dug it too. You dug it. You went to those home games. There were an average of 20,497 other Blazermaniacs screaming their heads off at the Rose Garden all 41 games, good enough for third in the league that season.
Not satisfied? Only the Blazers and Mavericks sold more than 100% capacity throughout the season thanks to standing-room-only fanatics thrilled just to be in the building.
This team, with all its flaws and all its misfortune, holds a special spot in the hearts of Portland fans.
Oh, also ...
Come back any time, Steve Blake. The Portland Trail Blakesters welcome your return literally whenever you're ready.