Raymond Felton Hasn't Forgotten
During an appearance for Under Armour at a Macy's in New York, former Trail Blazer and current Knicks point guard Raymond Felton was asked, among other things, about the end of his tenure in Portland. And rather than reverting to any number of deflective stock answers NBA players give when asked about not-so-pleasant memories with former teams ("I'm just focusing on the upcoming season" or "I've put that behind me" being two examples), Felton chose to go on-record about the rift
, be it perceived or otherwise ...
Felton is still bitter at the character assassination he received in the Rose City. Last March during a game there, he was booed viciously every time he touched the ball after being portrayed as the guy who cost Portland the playoffs.
He went on a long rant Monday about being portrayed as a locker-room cancer by the media and fans.
“I laughed at the crowd,’’ Felton said. “We’re in the playoffs. What about you all."
Berman also posted more of Felton's comments on Sulia
(which I didn't realize people were still using) that didn't make the print edition ...
“At the end of the day, they said a lot things about me,’’ Felton remarked. "Said a lot of things about Jamal Crawford. They said me and Jamal were bad eggs. I’m sitting back like: “Jamal is with the Clippers having a great year, up for Sixth Man of The Year. His team was in the playoffs. And our team is in the playoffs. I don’t think we were the issues of bringing that team down. Not in the playoffs again and you want to put the blame on two guys. It was our fault they didn’t make the playoffs. Really?’’
“I was kind of upset about that,’’ Felton added. “Because now you’re trying to kill your character. I’m not a type of cancer in the locker room.’’
A couple of things here.
First off, it's a bit hard to tell if Felton's issue is with the Portland media, the fans or both. If it's with the media, that's fine. I don't necessarily agree with it, but I'm not going to argue with Felton's perception, if for no other reason than I don't think player/media relationships are all that interesting. He's certainly not the first guy to think he didn't get a fair shake from the local media, and he won't be the last.
But if his issue is with the fans, then I think Felton is indulging in a bit of revisionist history. I don't think the issue was fans blaming Felton individually for missing the playoffs in the lockout-shortened season; the issue was Felton coming into camp out of shape (something Felton has admitted to
) and the entire team rolling over in the games immediately preceding the trade deadline and the dismissal of Nate McMillan. Players who didn't have necessarily successful stints in Portland have typically been welcomed back with indifference at worst or applause at best (Jarret Jack, Travis Outlaw, Martell Webster and Steve Blake immediately come to mind), but what Portland fans obviously have no stomach for are players on teams that simply give up, as seemed to be the case with the 2011-12 team.
And to be fair, I think Felton has a right to be salty after being roundly booed every time he touched the ball in his return to Portland on March 14, 2013
(a game the Trail Blazers won, by the way), but THAT is what he should be mad about. As far as how he was treated by the fans when he was still playing in Portland, that's on Felton.