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In November of 1992, the Trail Blazers launched Rip City Magazine with
the goal of "capturing all the excitement and action of Portland's 23rd
season, neatly packaged for you to read and review time and time again,
now and in future years."
Here we are almost 20 future years later, and Rip City Magazine lives
on. And this summer, we'll dive into the archives to offer up some of
the most memorable covers and stories from nearly two decades of RCM.
It was announced this week that former Trail Blazer great and Hall of Famer Bill Walton will present Arvydas Sabonis at the 2011 Naismith Hall Of Fame induction ceremony on August 12. A very appropriate choice considering the similarities between the two. Both are former Trail Blazers centers who were the best passing bigmen of their generations. And as we know all too well, both careers in Portland were cut far too short.
Big Red and Sabas also share the distinction of being, at one point in their careers, great sixth men. Walton put in his bench work at the end of his career, winning the NBA Sixth Man award in 1986, his second-to-last season, while with the Celtics.
As for Sabonis, he played his most prominent role off the bench during the 1995-96 campaign as a 31 year-old rookie averaging 14.5 points, 8.1 rebounds and almost two assists in a little under 25 minutes a game. And he came off the bench in 52 of the 73 games he played in that first season, making him eligible for both the Sixth Man and Rookie of the Year awards. He ended up runner-up in both, losing out on Rookie of the Year to Damon Stoudamire (small world, eh?) and Sixth Man to Toni Kukoc (which was a travesty considering Sabas had better overall statistics despite not playing alongside Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen). Arvydas would go on to be a regular starter until his 2002-03 swan song, so he never had a crack at the Sixth Man again, which is probably a good thing.
So in honor of both Sabonis' upcoming HOF induction and the news that Walton will present him, I thought it was apropos to role out Eddie Doucette's plea for Sabonis joining Walton as a Sixth Man of the Year award winner in a piece from the April 1996 edition of Rip City Magazine entitled "Sabas' Sixth Sense"