Rip City Uprise Rally
By caseyholdahl Posted in: Blazers
Few things arouse the interests of Oregonians more than sun and the
Portland Trail Blazers, so it’s no surprise that up to 15,000 fans
crammed into Pioneer Courthouse Square to bask in the warmth of a
beautiful day and the Trail Blazers’ first postseason appearance in six
years at the Rip City Uprise Rally.
Those who couldn’t find an
extra inch in Pioneer Courthouse Square lined up along the streets or
hung out of windows of buildings adjacent waving red and black “Rip
City Uprise” signs. While waiting for the team to arrive, the crowd was
entertained by live music, dancing, prize giveaways and various Trail
Blazers personalities, including a freshly faux-hawked Mike Rice.
party was already in full swing by time members of the team and their
families boarded buses bound for downtown. Joel Przybilla and Brandon
Roy sat with their sons on their laps as the buses departed for
Portland. The players know of the interest the public has when it comes
to the team, but even they marveled at having police escorts and news
helicopters following the buses north up I-5.
surprising as it was to see a helicopter following the bus, the players
were more stunned to see fans congregating along the street blocks away
from the rally. The team gazed in amazement as sparse crowds along the
street turned into bigger crowds the closer they got to Pioneer
Courthouse Square. All of the players were shocked to see a crowd of no
fewer than 10,000 fans lined up to welcome the team by time the bus
pulled up alongside the rally,
The rally had taken on a rock
concert-like feel by time the players took the stage. The players
looked at each other with disbelief as they were introduced one by one
by Mike Barrett. Nate McMillan gave a stirring speech to the crowd
about his vision for the franchise when he signed on as head coach and
how the rally was proof that he had indeed made the right decision.
next time we’re here we’ll not be celebrating getting into the
playoffs,” said McMillan. “The next time we’re here, we want a parade.”
After that, each player addressed the fans, thanking them for their continued support through the years, to wild ovations.
never seen anything like this before,” said Brandon Roy. “It’s
unbelievable. We all wanted to be a part of the turnaround, but we
never imagined it would be something like this.”