Trail Blazers' Favorite Moments: LaMarcus Aldridge
LaMarcus Aldridge’s 2010-2011 Trail Blazers season is one long highlight reel.
, Dre-to-LaMarcus alley-oops
, anyone/everyone-to-LaMarcus alley-oops
, powerful slam dunks
and locker room antics
all stand out as incredible moments. But most of all, we saw the transformation of a talented player into an All-Star caliber team leader.
With so many impressive moments to choose from, LaMarcus surprised me when he shared his favorite memory of the season. A memory that transcends basketball and looks to the soul of a man.
“Being the first person to get the Maurice Lucas Award,” he said. “That was pretty big. He was a stand up guy and being the first person to get that, that was pretty big for me.”
Assistant Coach Maurice Lucas, fondly known as “The Enforcer,” passed away in October of last year. To honor the Trail Blazer great the organization created the Maurice Lucas Award. The title is bestowed annually on the “Trail Blazers player who best represents the true spirit of Maurice Lucas through his contributions on the court and in the community, as well as in support of his teammates and the organization.”
On the court, Aldridge’s break-out season included career highs in five categories: points, rebounds, assists, free throw percentage and minutes played. His impressive off-court actions included a $20,000 donation to Japan tsunami relief.
The culmination of his activities throughout the season earned him the nod and a donation to the Z Man foundation on his behalf.
"LaMarcus has embodied everything it takes to be a Trail Blazer this season," said Trail Blazers President Larry Miller . "I feel Luke would have been proud of the progress LaMarcus has made, and would have wanted him to receive this award," said Trail Blazers President Larry Miller.
When I posed the “what was your favorite memory?” question to LaMarcus I expected a basketball memory. Instead, the words he shared gave me a deeper look into him. A look that made me swell with respect and pride.
Typically when we think of professional athletes their athletic prowess is only piece we ponder. We don’t really wonder about the person wearing the jersey. That’s typically. I know Portland is different. In Rip City we value the souls of our players as much as their basketball abilities.
This man, our LaMarcus, is one to be proud of. And his favorite 2010-2011 memory is just one example why.