oregongal47 view (TG)

Jan 31

how i became a basketball fan

By oregongal47 view (TG)
I grew up in Eugene Or and having grown up in a University town I was exposed to a lot of sports.  Track was always huge. football was too.  Then I remember this new coach came to town that was from Penn State and that coach was Dick Harter....before that u of o basketball was boring.  He brought a style of basketball that had  high tenancity and was very, very huge on defense and I mean huge on defense.  After he came to town he had some guys who were these high. flying fearless players called the Kamikaze kids.  They were called that as they were like Kamikaze pilots fearless ball players.  This kind of ball caught my attention and the whole town of Eugene by storm.  I remember falling in love with the styles of stu jackson, ronnie lee, greg ballard, stan love, ernie kent etc I remember us kids in the neighborhood could not wait til game day to see what these kids would do next. ronnie lee was my fave of that era!The pit (mac court) would go crazy and literally rock and sway to these guys! we had a saying back the called pack the pit! (I Hope we can get back to those days in the new arena)  Dick Harter and those players were my first exposure to basketball and I knew I loved this game.  Also my step brother played ball and I would go to his games as well.  I also got into watching the nba and aba during that time period. seeing pat riley play, jerry west, dr j, kareem,bill walton, luke and others...

Also during this time was a home grown boy  who would some day make it to the nba, play for the celts, blazers and suns and eventually become front office in boston.  that person was danny ainge.  Danny was a year ahead of me in school(I never saw him play ball as i went to private school and our school was 2a) back then the highest level in high school was 3a.  Anyhow Danny Ainge was an amazing athlete and he had attention of Eugene as well...((He eventually became known as the greatest athlete to come out of the state of Oregon) .He was great in all three sports. He won a lot of champs for North Eugene High school.  He did something was truly amazing while in college he was drafted to play for the toronto blue jays (yes danny was a great baseball player) and he would play for the blue jays in the summer and then go and play basketball in the winter. not sure if another player has done that in college. that is how good an athlete he was.  It was great to follow his career and see him do so well.  I was amazed at how gifted he was and so jealous plus danny was a nice guy.  anyhow seeing all these amazing players got me further hooked.
After danny left eugene my step brother was in high school. he was a good player but unfort he was overshadowed by two guys in oregon at the time Charlie Sitton out of McMinnville and AC Green.  He played against both.  It was great to see him do so well.  My step brother was the typical basketball player back then tall and very skinny. not for lack of trying he tried to gain weight but he grew too fast to keep up and back then basketball players were not muscular the theory was if you got too muscular it would slow you down.  true story regarding my step brother to show you height difference with us he was 6'6" and im 5'3" and he asked me to cut his hair once.  I said you will have to either sit down or get me a ladder as there is no way I will be able to reach you.  Anyhow he got the recruting letters etc we were so excited for him.  Then to our joy the u of o was interested in him and Im like cool he will get to play under Dick Harter.  It was not meant to be Dick Harter left the year my step brother graduated from High School.  He did go to the u of o and played two years under Jim Haney and two under Don Monson.

A memory my step brother gave me and I will never forget it...he got me tickets for my birthday to sit behind the U of O bench that is the closest i have been to the action of a huge game ever and it was so thrilling to be in the pit rocking it and getting to see everything going on.  I was so proud of him and it gave me a bigger love affair of the sport...It was also neat to have his teammates come to the house. Oregon had a seven foot center playing on the team called Blair Rassmussen and he would come over to the hosue and it was funny he would have to duck to get in the door. and I thought holy cow this guy is tall. he was a nice guy. it was great to be around the players I loved it.  He played against sitton at osu and ac green (at the time i did not like him thought he was a dirty player and did not want him hurting my brother lol)  

I was so proud of the fact come draft day my step brother was drafted by the san diego clippers. he played for their summer league but they wanted him to play in europe to develop further and that is where he went. i already blogged about that time.  He came affter that finshed college got a degree, moved to cali got married and got a great job and had a family.

i remember a team in portland starting a franchise but I never totally followed it totally til  my jr year of high school that was the year of 77. we had lucas and walton and I thought wow these guys are great.  I watched them on tv but back then portland was a big city I did not know much about and saw a few games but then it came to the finals and that changed it for me seeing the enforcer in action and seeing walton play was awesome.  It was not until I moved to portland that I truly got into the blazers.  I would spend hours around the radio listening to the shonz, steve jones courtside and his after the fifth quarter  shows.  It was great for this smaller town girl to get into a great game.   the rest is hisory for me basketball.  It all started with this group of young men called the Kamikaze kids who set me on fire to this excting ball playing and later on my step brother and his tiny basketball career. and a future nba player come out of my hometown...that is how I became a fan of this game!


  1. Wow, I remember those guys. I also remember how the Lakers hosed Portland out of drafting A.C. so they had to settle for some guy named Terry Porter. I guess he turned out just fine.

    by blazerdarren77 on 1/31/2011 10:50 PM
  2. Wow oregongal. Great story. I didn't realize you had such a personal connection to the game, ie. your step brother. Growing up around basketball players sounds like so much fun! I'm jealous.

    by sarahhecht on 2/1/2011 10:11 AM
  3. that really is an amazing story. growing up, my dad and brothers were huge sports fans which got me involved in watching teams like the blazres, but i've never had that connection to someone who actually went to training camp. that's incredible!

    by Kassandra on 2/1/2011 2:32 PM
  4. it was fun being around it but i was at college during some of that time. i know how hard he worked and how good they were to him. he got a great education and great job from playing ball so basketball sort of gave him a great life. im proud of him

    by oregongal47 view (TG) on 2/2/2011 10:30 PM
  5. i loved those days of basketball...and this team reminds me of the old days how they never give up and how they play hard ball...I was lucky to have been around the sport and to have met some of the guys at oregon. they were nice guys who worked hard. I was so proud of my step brother going to summer league and trying for the nba. I am glad he was part of european basketball history...maybe he helped teach them waht he learned and im sure he learned from them. I know he learned about another culture and how hard europe was back then as he traveled in communist countries....basketball is a great sport and it has opened the doors for a lot of young men....that is why i support these guys I have a rough idea what they are going thru having witnessed it first hand as a sister to a ball player.

    by oregongal47 view (TG) on 2/2/2011 10:46 PM
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