trailblazers

An open letter to Portland Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen

Dear Mr. Allen,

First off, I would like to congratulate you on your recovery from leukemia. You are a survivor and the fight that you have shown in the face of adversity is a trait to be admired and is an inspiration to those that feel they are taking a lonely walk towards the valley of death.

The letter that you wrote a few days ago to the public was nice to see. It was cute actually.

All of us wish we knew you a little bit deeper than we actually do. The spats about any octopus on Twitter with columnist John Canzano, while funny, do not make the most sense, because we do not understand you. All we know is your actions with the Trail Blazers and for football fans, the Seattle Seahawks.

As far as the team is concerned, I want to keep this short. It boils down to your personnel decisions or lack of them and a loyal fan base that is undervalued. Performance reflects leadership and from a distance it appears that there is an absence of both. Within this equation is a general manager who might as well be the Wizard of Oz for all we know. None of it helps to erase an image of incompetency under your guidance.

When will this excitement mock your front office decisions?

Did you really expect this team without a general manger to not end up kicking it in the lottery at season’s end? This has got to stop. With all due respect to the following: Kiki Vandeweghe, Geoff Petrie, and Rick Sund, are any of these guys any better than Kevin Pritchard or Rich Cho?

All of them have goose eggs for their number of championships as executives, which is no more than the guys you fired. Let’s be real, unless you are getting Worldwide Wes, Danny Ainge, Sam Presti, or Jerry West in here is it really going to matter who you decide to hire? We both know the answer.

Without a GM, can we really expect a coach, much less the current one to have any direction whatsoever? Letting Nate McMillan go was a blessing in disguise for a coach that had been undercut by his own president and owner.

Instead of continually getting blasted by a fan base that overvalues its own talent, the former coach was given time to spend in Seattle (or St. Croix if he preferred) to recharge the batteries and clean his hands of this mess.

Interim Head Coach Kaleb Canales was fun to watch this year and I was reminded of him when I saw 76ers coach Doug Collins flail his arms in unabashed enthusiasm after their playoff series win over the Bulls, who fittingly were Canales’ first professional win.

Portland fans, namely season ticket holders, deserve a vision, which this team is sorely lacking. You are asking them to invest in something emotionally and most of all financially. Imagine trying to pitch an idea for a software company to prospective investors with a product but a lack of vision of where the company would go with the financial backing. It does not work in business and it should not work in professional sports.

Beyond the season ticket holders are the rest of the Blazermaniacs. You benefit from fans that are passionate, albeit delusional at times.

The fact that Rip City denizens spoke in a present tense when referring to Greg Oden as late as the 2010-11 season shows that the fans are unwaveringly optimistic even when the skies above One Center Court resemble that of a Portland day in January, but you take advantage of a rabid fan base in a negative manner by not providing the same vision that investors deserve.

LaMarcus Aldridge and Wesley Matthews are not the heart and soul of this franchise, the fans are.

No amount of pyrotechnics or 12th Man banners can provide what a logical vision can. The letter albeit appealing, means nothing if more of the same continues. The smoke and mirrors stuff is lame. Your fans are smarter than that and as an owner you are better than that.

We deserve a winner!

While we are on things that are on overkill, can we stop with the jersey retirement ceremonies already? Lionel Hollins? Seriously? There are three players that undoubtedly deserve to have their jerseys retired: Bill Walton, Clyde Drexler, and Maurice Lucas.

That’s it.

Sure, there are a couple of guys on the fringe (Terry Porter and Bob Gross as examples), but the rest are a bit much. This franchise spends more time playing the lottery than a 75 year-old smoker with a gambling habit and a social security check.

If you want to honor the past, win some ball games, and set plaques up throughout the Rose Garden if you are desperate for an aesthetic touch.

All of that said, I am not in the camp that jeers you and wants you to sell the team.

The resources that you have invested into the franchise are more than anyone could hope for.

I hope that I get to see you as excited as Mark Cuban was raising his trophy after an NBA Championship season.

In the meantime, as fans we want you to care a little bit more. Not act like it, but you know, actually do it.

With Love,

Blair Thomas

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About Blair Thomas

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  • Clinton

    I despise the Blazers, but I can empathize with your pain as a fan. This is a damn good letter Blair, I just hope it gets to his desk for him to read it!

    • Blair Thomas

      C-
      In Portland, he reads everything from what I have been told- Hopefully, he is that way with electronic print as well…

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