Mar 07

Trail Blazers Honored for Close Relationship with Boys & Girls Club

By sarahhecht
It was a wet and dreary Thursday evening in the Rose City. But from where I was sitting you never would have guessed it. The third floor ballroom of the Portland Art Museum was decorated in a stunningly beautiful array of Trail Blazers black and red. The walls were lined with giant displays of player photos and adorned with a single spotlight to each. A glittering banner reading “Rip City” hung above the stage. Trail Blazers players, coaches and alumni donned their formal wear to dine with hundreds of guests.

Inside, and out of the rain this beautiful evening was the 2011 Winemaker’s Private Reserve Dinner Boys & Girls Clubs Pacesetter Tribute to the Portland Trail Blazers. The organization was recognized for it’s outstanding commitment to bettering the community.

As a Trail Blazers fan since the age of six I’ve been cognizant of the organization and it’s efforts in the community for a long time. Or at least I thought I was. Since becoming a Trail Blazer at the beginning of the season my eyes have been opened to the massive and passionate commitment of the organization. I’m now aware that I truly had no idea of the true magnitude of its impact.

The Portland Trail Blazers have long been engaged with the community in the neighboring areas of the city. A prominent piece in this dedication is the Blazers Boys & Girls Club located in North East Portland.  A place where underserved youth can go after school to tackle their homework, play sports and work toward goals.

A perfect fit with the Trail Blazers organization, the Boys & Girls Club has a rich history with Trail Blazers players young and old. Growing up, Marcus Camby spent much of his after school time at his local club. From the age of seven through high school he could be found there playing basketball and doing his homework.

“I have a lifetime membership to the Boys and Girls Club,” Camby said. “And it’s kinda ironic, when they were saying during the speech that night that the very first club was in Hartford, Connecticut where I grew up at, I knew about that, I’ve been to that club.”

The close ties between Camby and the Boys & Girls Club are shared by many athletes in the NBA. Trail Blazers guard Armon Johnson and Assistant Coach Kaleb Canales are also products of their local Boys & Girls Clubs.

As the program rolled on through the evening, stories were shared by children impacted, the CEO of the Boys & Girls Club and the Deputy Commissioner of the NBA, Adam Sliver.

Silver joined the Boys & Girls Club in honoring the Trail Blazers as a model franchise for their community efforts and the ceaseless endeavors of the make it better foundation.

The entire Trail Blazers roster was in attendance, all graciously dedicating their time to help raise funds for the Boys & Girls Club. They sat at tables throughout the ballroom and shared their stories with gracious guests.

An evening such as this wasn’t just about raising money. It was about bringing awareness and recognition to the impact an organization or individual can have on the lives of many. An evening filled with goosebumps and the feeling in your stomach that makes you want to do anything and everything you can to help.

Camby was very moved by the touching evening. More specifically he was amazed by Sophia who gave a speech to a packed house on the impact of the Boys & Girls Club on her life and the lives of other children she knows.

“It was great, on the ride home me and my wife was talking about that 11 year-old that went up there and gave that speech and got that standing ovation,” said Camby. “It really touched our hearts, it brought us more attentive to the cause, what was going on throughout that whole night, so overall I thought it was a blast.”

A beautiful evening, a spectacular cause, and an unending mission. All brought to light by the Boys & Girls Club and the Portland Trail Blazers.


  1. Awesome story Sarah! The Blazers do a lot for the community - most people do not know just how much they do and care.

    by pdxblazergurl on 3/7/2011 1:29 PM
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