Former Portland Jailblazers staff that worked in the arena and around the team, were asked who the nicest player on the team was a few years back. Almost everyone interviewed said the nicest and friendliest player on the team was no doubt power forward Rasheed Wallace.
And speaking of Rasheed, there was one game where Rasheed received two technicals for talking back to the refs and was ejected. Rasheed left the game and went directly to the room where the player’s family stay and stayed to play with all of his teammates’ kids until the game was finished.
The Jailblazers are famous for having heated and high stakes card games during team flights. Former pilots have said, that sometimes certain players refused to leave the plane even though the plane had landed and everyone had disembarked from the plane, because they were in the middle of a high stakes card game.
There was one member of the Portland Jailblazers who was notorious for showing up late for everything. That player was none other than J.R. Rider. Rider would routinely show up late to team practices, film sessions, meetings and even games. Sometimes even arriving for games in the middle of the second quarter. Rider did it so often that the coaches did little about it.
Once when Rasheed Wallace was stopped by police in his car outside of Portland, the police were about to search the car when Rasheed told them, “there’s no need to search the car, we already smoked all the weed”.
Back in 2000, with the acquisition of forward Scottie Pippen, the Blazers felt they had a 100% chance to beat the Kobe-Shaq Lakers in the Western Conference Finals. And to this day many former players and coaches believe they were the better team that year and should have won the NBA championship.
Here is an interesting connection you probably don’t know about: the Jailblazers former private team airplane (which was then owned by team owner Paul Allen and was the place of a lot of crazy Jailblazer stories) is now owned by Donald Trump. Trump bought the Boeing 757 from Allen in 2011 for $100 million
Blazers coaches and players loved having Shawn Kemp on the team. Even though he was older and out of shape from his all star playing days in Seattle, the team gave him many chances to be a serviceable player. However, members of the coaching staff were constantly busting Kemp for drugs. After a while, the drug use was too much for the team and they had to move on from him.
And then there was the strange saga of having Steve Kerr on the team. First, Steve Kerr doesn’t fit with the Jailblazers cast of personalities and second, Kerr was brought in from San Antonio via trade, only to be traded back to the San Antonio Spurs the following season. As a Jailblazer, Kerr only played in 60 odd games and averaged 4 points per game.
In perhaps the best story of them all about the Jailblazers, forward Ruben Patterson often complained to former coach Mo Cheeks about wanting to be traded. At a practice in front of the whole team, Cheeks yelled at Patterson that he had been trying to trade him for a while, but no team wanted him.