Vintage Features: Meet Rod Strickland
There's something about the mid-90's Trail Blazers teams that feels so anonymous to me. I think back to the years immediately following the last trip to the NBA Finals in 1992 and nothing of consequence comes to mind. That's probably due to a combination of five-consecutive first round exits that followed losing to Michael Jordan's Bulls in the Finals, the staggered departures of franchise mainstays Clyde Drexler, Terry Porter, Jerome Kersey and Mark Bryant and the poor state of my long-term memory, of which roughly 95 percent is consumed by plot lines from The Simpsons
and Beverly Hills 90210.
My memories of the team start to ramp up with the arrival of Arvydas Sabonis
in 1995-96 and are crystal clear from the 1996-97 season on, thanks in large part to Rasheed Wallace. But for a few years, The PJ Carlisimo Years if you will, I remember next to nothing.
Which is probably why I don't remember of whole lot about Rod Stickland's career in Portland. He signed with the Trail Blazers as a free agent before the 1992-93 season and played four seasons in Portland before being traded, along with Harvey Grant, to the Washington Bullets for Rasheed and some fellow named Mitchell Butler. Strickland started 217 games for the Trail Blazers and ranked fifth in the NBA in assists during the 1993-94 and 1995-96 seasons. And he's currently ninth in the NBA all-time with 7,987 assists. All of that seems like something worth remembering, and yet the name-check he gets at the end of Wu Tang Clan's "Triumph"
is the most enduring memory I have of Strickland. That probably says more about me than it does Strickland's qualities as a basketball player, but still.
Nevertheless, you don't need to remember much about Strickland to enjoy this vintage Blazers Broadcasting feature introducing the Bronx native to Rip City. As with all of these old features, the ancillary curiosities you notice when watching video produced nearly 20 years ago is just as interesting, in my opinion, as the storyline itself. Between Drexler's sweater in the Smith's (a store which I assume has long since closed) ad to the Kris Kross "Jump" video playing behind the Schonz in the intro, there something for everyone to enjoy, even if your memory is a bit short on Strickland factoids.