Feb 24

Saying Goodbye to Some Friends

By Kassandra Posted in: Bobcats, DanteCunningham, JoelPrzybilla
If your reading my blog entry, you've undoubtedly heard the news which is rocking the blazers world today: Portland has acquired Gerald Wallace from Charlotte in exchange for Joel Pryzbilla, Dante' Cunningham, Sean Marks and two draft picks. While it was thought the blazers might make a trade, this one didn't happen until just about the last minute.

For separate reasons, these guys have given the blazers something about which to cheer.

Joel came to Portland six-and-a-half seasons ago and was the last of the Blazers from the dark era. However, any comparisons between he and that team end there. Joel is a stand-up guy both on and off the court. You can say anything you want about Joel and, in the end, you will come out singing his praises. You're not going to find his contributions on the stat sheet. Hard work, tough defense and mentoring of other players just doesn't show up there. I've always seen Joel as the kind of guy who is respected amongst his teammates for doing the dirty work rather than searching for headlines. In my humble opinion, Joel just wanted to play basketball. His teammates and fans looked up to him as that type of guy.. He was respected so much amongst the orgainaztion that he was tabbed to represent the team at Maurice Lucas' memorial service. Joel is as solid as they come and with whatever happens with the team, a lot of fans will be disappointed that Joel will not have an opportunity to be a part of it.

We barely got to know Dante' in his one-and-a-half years with the Blazers, but he made his impact with the team while giving us no choice but to like him. In many regards, he's a lot like Joel. Dante' was undersized against most of the opponents against whom he matched, but you wouldn't know it by the way he played against them. He wasn't always the most prolific offensive player for us, but he certainly had his moments. I don't know about you, but I won't soon forget his career night of 18 points and 13 rebounds just 10 days ago at Minnesota; not to mention his career-high four blocks a month ago against the Kings. I feel fortunate to have exchanged a few direct messages with Dante' on twitter and, from his demeanor, you would never that know he played professional basketball for a living. He's just a real guy. In keeping with the trend of seeking out good people for the team, then-GM Kevin Pritchard found Dante'. Not quite two weeks ago, RipCitySarah posted a great blog on this site about Dante' and his love for restoring vintage cars -- something he shares with his father; I strongly suggest that as a must-read if you want to get to know Dante' a little better. He's a great guy with a great future; for the Bobcats sake, I hope they see that.

Sean is a bit more of a question mark (no pun intended). Other than signing a few games into the season, we never got to learn much about the New Zealander. That's probably our loss. He's not the prettiest player nor the flashiest, but he aspired to do what the team asked of him. Little-known stat: Sean leaves the Blazers as their season leader in three-point percentage at a perfect 100 percent (2-2). We also know that there was a bit of a kinship between he and Patty Mills due to the proximity of New Zealand to Patty's native Australia. When Sean came into a game, you figured it would only be for a few minutes. You also knew that he would give his all. Sometimes that was to defend and sometimes it was to simply give one of the big guys a rest. I will never criticize anyone for bringing to the court what a guy like Sean does. Obviously, I don't know what the future holds for him, but I hope he remembers that there are fans in Portland who appreciate the effort he brought to the team.

Earlier today on twitter, I saw a comment directed toward one of these guys: "Once a Blazer, always a Blazer." These three men completely exemplify what the type of player and people we in and from the Rose City want to represent us.

Our friends will be missed.

~ Kassandra


  1. Great blog, I really feel bad voor Cunningham and his cats ):

    by KasparV on 2/24/2011 4:35 PM
  2. great blog kass you echo what i feel and there is some sadness there as they were great guys on and off court as what exexmplifies this town and what we value here. they will all be missed but i will follow them! charlotte better do what is right by dante he has potential...will miss the inferno

    by oregongal47 view (TG) on 2/24/2011 6:05 PM
  3. well said.

    by ddkohler on 2/24/2011 6:55 PM
  4. Kassandra:

    Great Blog. You are right they will be missed.

    I think Joel will be bought out and he will wait his 30 days and sign with the Blazers.


    by Hg on 2/24/2011 7:50 PM
  5. Wow this is great. Your writing is very creative, intuitive, direct, thorough, descriptive, sentimental, and smooth. You write w/ such volition; awesome! Keep writing for us fanatics to read and opine!

    by Roland on 2/24/2011 11:07 PM
  6. Fabulous Kass. Your sentiments echo my own. They really do exemplify what it is to be a Trail Blazer.

    Once a Blazer, always a Blazer.

    by sarahhecht on 2/24/2011 10:04 PM
  7. This might be the best piece from you that I have ever read. I thought about posting something like this but how can I follow that?? Spoken from the heart and you share my exact feelings. Joel will forever be one of the most respected professional athletes in my mind. What a great all around guy. And Dante stands right there as well. He doesn't get as much respect as he should. Thanks for the great insight Kass!

    by CrazyRusty on 2/24/2011 10:32 PM
  8. Wow Kassandra, that was so wonderfully constructed and expressed. What you said certainly rings true. It is hard to let go of a guy like Joel and now that we have more access to players with the technology available and to be able to connect with them directly, we get an even stronger sense of who they are beyond the player we see on the court.

    Indeed, once a player has been touched by the Blazer family-love enough (organization + fans) it sticks with them and in turn, they enhance the very definition of what it is to be a Trail Blazer.

    Well done my dear.


    by Anees on 2/25/2011 2:05 AM
  9. Nice post.

    by tominhawaii on 2/25/2011 8:29 AM
  10. I think we as fans got the best of this deal, minus the unknown with the 2 draft picks

    by mbmurr1 on 2/25/2011 10:16 AM
  11. Great blog. I'm not one who gets too attached to players, but I will say I will miss Dante a lot. His effort was always fun to watch, and there were never times where I planted my face into my palm for what Cunningham did. He's a free agent this summer, so the Blazers could potentially pick him up. I doubt the Cats will resign him (their loss), so just maybe we could see these guys in Blazer uniforms again.

    Nice blog Kass. Really well said about these great players.

    by Herr on 2/25/2011 5:20 PM
  12. Great post, Kassandra. I've grown to like Sean Marks, though as you said we didn't get to know him well, and Dante's work in whatever role he was asked to do, no matter how odd a fit for him it was (ie being our center). I'll miss them both. Most of all, I'll miss Joel Przybilla, the toughest Blazer in recent memory. It was just a couple months ago when the fans gave him a standing ovation when he returned. I've rarely been more proud to be a Portlander - he's not our star, but he does good work and he looks out for his teammates, and the fans gave him props for it. I sincerely hope he gets a buyout and comes back to us, because we need a guy with a spine like his. And we have an open roster spot or two.

    by sameer on 2/25/2011 5:42 PM
  13. I completely agree. It sounds like Wallace will do well here in Portland, but at the same time, I will really miss Joel "the thrilla", Dante', and Marks. It was so nice, their contributions, to the atmosphere in the Rose Garden. It's just so hard to say good-bye.

    Go Blazers!

    by briantheblazerfan on 2/25/2011 5:49 PM
  14. Thanks Kass
    You put in words what all of us are feeling right now! Even though Wallace is a great player we all become attached to our players. They bring us joy in the heat of a battle. MY HAT IS OFF TO THE WARRIORS! We will miss then. Going forward,"WECOME GERALD WALLACE!" I always have like your game and I know you will have a positive impact on your new team! The emotions that I'm dealing with are the since of lost, but on the our hand I feel joy with a dose of anticipation. I guess that would be natural to feel betwixt.
    Well I'll be following all players involved.
    What a time in HISTORY!

    by civilhold on 2/26/2011 2:40 AM
  15. wow guys, thanks for responding!

    @KsssparV: he should move his cats to charlotte with him!

    @Hg: i just read where charlotte has won Joel over and that his minutes are likely to increase as he backed up Kwame Brown.

    @Herr: from what i read, it doesn't sound like the bobcats are going to use Dante's all that much. we might just well have the opportunity to get him back at the end of the season.

    it's pretty clear that Sean is not in charlotte's plans. i wonder if we'll sign him back.

    by Kassandra on 2/27/2011 10:24 AM
  16. See this is why I stopped following the Clippers. I don't like it when players come and go like this. I barely got to know all of these guys! I hope they do well with their new team and I'm glad they left fond memories to Blazers fans.

    by julianne on 3/3/2011 12:06 PM
  17. @Herr and @Kassandra the Bobcats are definately keeping Dante'. He has been so fun to watch these last 5 weeks. I do hope you appreciate GW and everything he brings to the court. One thing is for sure, whatever he brings, he will leave it all on the court, which seems to fit in perfectly with the Portland way of life.

    by BlockParty aka Teamship on 4/1/2011 7:34 PM
  18. Jules: arenout you glad you're a blazers fan now tough. there's just someting about this team!

    BlockParty: i agree that you guys will resign Dante. You won't be disappointed. I continually wish him well.

    by Kassandra on 4/11/2011 6:57 PM
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