Dec 07

The Origins Of The Three Goggles

By caseyholdahl Posted in: RudyFernandez, PattyMills
If you've seen Patty Mills on the bench or on the streets, then you know he's not lacking in creativity or wit. And if you know those things, then you shouldn't be surprised that it was Patty who was the first guy on the team to throw on what has come to be known as around the Trail Blazers locker room as "The Three Goggles."

You've surely seen what I'm talking about if you've watched a game this season. When someone hits a three, Patty and other members of the Trail Blazers will put their index fingers to their thumbs, forming the symbol most commonly used to denote something is "O.K." From there, the hands are brought up to face, with the eyes peering through the circles formed by touching the index fingers and thumbs together. You've got your Three Goggles.

It started in earnest last season. Rudy Fernandez has long held up one half of the Three Goggles (though above his head rather than to his face) after making a shot from beyond the arc, but it was Patty took it a step further as a way to tease the sharpshooting Spaniard who also happens to be one of his closest friends on the team.

See, Rudy has a bit of a problem focusing on objects way off in the distance. The doctors say he doesn't need correction, but sometimes when trying to make out the details of something far off, he has to squint.

Patty, observant as he is clever, had noticed Rudy furrowing his brow in an attempt to bring focus to what his regular vision found ambiguous. So as a way to poke a little fun at his buddy with less than 20/20, Mills mimicked Rudy's hand symbol for a made three, doubled it and brought his hands to his face to mimic a pair of prescription glasses. And thus, Three Goggles was born.

"We started last year, but it wasn't something we'd done all the time," said Mills. "Now it's consistent. He had an eye problem at the beginning of the year that he needed to get tested for, so it's just a little inside joke. Pretty funny. Three-pointer goggles."

Rudy showed up to training camp so serious and unhappy that, were it not for Mills, you could reasonably assume that Fernandez would still be mired in a serious funk. So it stands to reason that one of Patty's biggest contributions this season has been being a great friend to Fernandez, and part of being a friend, as ironic as it is, is busting the chops of those you're closest with.

"Patty sometimes joking about I need glasses," said Fernandez. "Sometimes, you know, I'm unfocused. I no see good in the long distance. The doctors say 'Don't worry about it. You don't need contacts. You don't need anything,' but sometimes I need to do this (squints). It's a joke because sometime Patty say 'You can't see the rim!' So sometimes, when I make the three, glasses with threes."

With the way things are going, Mills might not have much time on the bench to invent new ways to rib his fellow international. Mills has planted his flag as the backup point guard after patiently waiting for an opportunity, which was afforded during a road trip/losing streak that saw Armon Johnson turn the ball over too often for Nate McMillan's liking. The second year guard out of St. Mary's has made the most of the opportunity, improving seemingly with every minute he's on the floor. He turned in the best game of his pro career, a 9-point, 7-assist, 3-rebound performance in Portland's 106-99 victory against the Suns on Tuesday night, at just the right time with Andre Miller serving a one game suspension.

Mills assisted on both of Fernandez's three-pointers Tuesday night, which might say more about the vision of the young Australian than it does his Spanish "bala" (which is Patty Mills speak for "brother").

"He does need glasses," joked Mills. "Every time he makes a shot it's like 'Oh, he must have saw the basket that time.' He needed his Three Goggles on."

Also worth nothing that Mills must not be too worried about Rudy's vision, as evidenced by Patty lasering a no-look pass to Fernandez that set up an acrobatic reverse layin, the kind of play we were accustomed to seeing Rudy make his rookie year when Sergio Rodriguez was still one half of Portland's "Spanish Armada."

The connection between Fernandez and Mills has many similarities to the the connection between Fernandez and Rodriguez, and early returns would seem to indicate that some of the on court chemistry that gave birth to the 2008 edition of the Spanish Armada is now being seen with Fernandez and Mills.

"If you can take care of the things off the court it will follow on the court," said Mills. "Me and Rudy's friendship and whatever we have is great off the court, so I believe that why we feel so connected on the court."

You don't need a pair of Three Goggles to see that.


  1. Great story casey:
    I really enjoy those inside stories about the players. I remember when Travis was hurt and was doing interviews, he would tell Rudy to hold up three fingers when he made a three to signal to Travis. Then Patty and now BRoy has taken it further. That is great.

    I haven't watched the game yet as last night was my league bowling night, but I will shortly.

    I have been preaching that we needed another Mr. fourth quarter for quite sometime, and I am hoping that may be Nic playing the 4 as he did against the clippers. I had completely forgot about the spanish connection because of all the flak given to Rudy, but maybe that is what he was missing to keep him fired up. For one thing, it sure won't hurt.


    by Hg on 12/8/2010 6:27 AM
  2. Casey"
    As I just said on Barrett's Blog, with Rudy, Nic and Patty on the second unit we will have the foreign connection instead of the Spanish Armada.


    by Hg on 12/8/2010 6:40 AM
  3. thanks for this story, casey; i see these goggles chant on the blazer chat and i've wondered what people were talking about; glad you could get to the bottom of this and whatever can help spark this team i'm all for it.

    by blazerdarren77 on 12/8/2010 6:41 AM
  4. Patty Mills cracks me up. I loved watching him last night miss a three point shot and then rebounding/saving it under the basket. Wonderful intensity to see from a team that has been lacking it lately.

    by matther on 12/8/2010 9:48 AM
  5. Yes, love these insights into the players off the court/behind the scenes. Thanks so much Casey! That play was #2 on's Top 10 Plays - not bad. :-)

    by Anees on 12/8/2010 12:29 PM
  6. Great story. Glad to know what it's all about. I noticed Camby and Wesley doing the 3 goggles in the game last night.

    by krizzikinz on 12/8/2010 1:43 PM
  7. I love this!! The connection between Mills and Fernandez is definitely evident. It makes me smile seeing Rudy back to his old self and Patty showing everyone what he's worth! :) Gotta love this team.

    by AnnaInTheHouse on 12/8/2010 2:06 PM
  8. Thanks for all the comments everyone.

    by caseyholdahl on 12/8/2010 3:20 PM
  9. I loved the game last night!!! What fun! That no-look pass from Mills to Rudy was nasty!!!! Loved the story about the goggles with the threes--I noticed that they started doing it lately, and I love it!!! Thanks for the inside info--keep it coming!

    by fanatickathy on 12/8/2010 4:26 PM
  10. Yay the mystery is revealed! Great story Casey. Glad to see the team is having fun and bonding while playing some good ball too. I think Rudy has definitely missed having someone like Sergio, who looked to get him involved, knew his style of play, so Patty might fill that void...but Patty can make those threes too, goggles or not. Best shot was Rudy hitting a three and Camby doing the three goggles on the bench, hilarious :)

    by minimegstew on 12/8/2010 5:40 PM
  11. ty for the story casey. i have heard others in chat talk about the three goggles and had no clue as i dont get to watch much blazer tv. i loved hearing about their freindship etc. it is geat to see themn playing off each other on the court. may we see many more nights like this..i chuckled a lot thru hearing you explain those goggles as i used to do those as a kid and it is cute.
    ty casey for writing this.
    your a gem and i enjoy reading your blogs

    by teresa galer on 12/8/2010 10:29 PM
  12. Thanks Casey! Love hearing these stories! I have seen them do the goggles thing and wondered what the story was behind it.

    It is great to see the chemistry with these guys and seeing them get some fast paced- fast break basket ball in as well.

    Hope we continue to see more of the same.

    Keep the Patty stories coming!

    by RedRudy5 on 12/8/2010 11:12 PM
  13. Oh, that's why Rudy's shot has dropped off so much... he's near-sighted!!

    by sheedwasright on 12/9/2010 3:50 PM
  14. That is awesome, I was wondering when, and who came up with the three going up to the face. I am really liking Patty Mills he seems like a cool kid! Thanks for the great insider Casey!

    by Kraydayz on 12/9/2010 9:56 PM
  15. okay, now finally i understand what the heck the three goggles is all about! i shall be better prepared for the next reference!

    ~ Kassandra

    by Kassandra on 12/11/2010 4:52 PM
  16. Please share with Mike , Mike where the 3 goggle thing came from. Better yet ask them to read your blog!

    by wallydogsmom on 12/12/2010 1:51 PM
  17. Love watching Patty on the bench and on the court! Great member of this team. With some more playing time he could be very valuable.

    by Rob Schaper on 12/13/2010 6:25 PM
  18. Rudy learned The Three Goggles from his friend José Calderón.
    Calderón began using it a few years ago and it's his personal celebration.

    by crash22 on 12/18/2010 9:32 AM
  19. Rudy learned The Three Goggles from his friend José Calderón.
    Calderón began using it a few years ago and it's his personal celebration.

    by crash22 on 12/18/2010 9:42 AM
  20. Not true, as Crash22 said, this is a personal celebration used with Calderon but also with other members of the Spanish basketball team... But it's true that my friend Rudy need glasses... ;-)

    by Alfredo_Barcelona on 12/21/2010 1:19 AM
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