Jan 09

My Blazer Memories: Larry Steele

By blazerdarren77
*This is a new series of former Blazer players I grew up watching. I'll be sharing my memories on a certain individual and what I liked about that player.*

  "A very steady, solid player. Great off-the-bench guy, a very good complimentary player." That is what legendary Blazer coach Jack Ramsey described Larry Steele. He was the type of player who could do it all and while it never showed up in the stats (8.2 pts  2.9 reb 2.8 asst as a Blazer)  his contributions didn't go unnoticed. Steele played nine seasons with the Blazers, including  the 1977 championship team.
  Watching Larry play was fun. He had the ability to get the key play at a crucial moment, such as a steal (he had to live up to his name) or a big basket. But I remember Larry hitting a couple of buzzer beaters, not necessarily at the end of a game, but one of those half-court shots as the quarter would end. I remember a particular game against Philadelphia a couple years after they won the title, Larry received an outlet pass an heaved a near three-quarter before time ran out and banked it in. The crowd went nuts and the TV flashed on the Blazer scoreboard "YEAH LARRY!" The replay kept showing over and over and even the announcers were in amazement.

  Larry truly loved to play and he was willing to do what it took to help the team. He did do it all; play guard, forward, offense, defense; anything Coach Ramsey would tell him to do. He still shares a single game record with steals (10) and is 5th on the all-time franchise with 846. He played in 610 games as a Blazer, which was #1 until 1987 ( he is currently 6th on the all-time list)
So when you see his retired #15 jersey hanging in the rafter at the Rose Garden, think of Larry Steele as a significant player who did whatever it took to win. That's how I remember him. After all, he's got a ring to show for it.

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  1. i do believe that Larry, rather appropriately, led the league in steals twice -- the first two years the nba kept track of the category.

    ~ KMM

    by Kassandra on 1/10/2012 11:23 AM
  2. Great blog idea! Thanks for sharing Darren, looking forward to more :)

    by sarahhecht on 1/10/2012 1:15 PM
  3. Yeah, this is cool. The farthest back I can remember in terms of the Trail Blazers was the late 80s when Kiki Vandeweigh(yes, sp) wife did the halftime reports. We would play hoops in the cul de sac, and one of us would be Jerome, and the other Clyde.
    I'm long overdue for another blog; just need to get over the intimidation factor.. Kidding.

    by Mike Hustad on 1/11/2012 2:04 PM
  4. @ Kass; Larry was the 37th pick (3rd rd) by the Blazers in 1971 so they definitely got a steal of a pick (bad pun?)
    @Mike; My buddy and I would play hoops on the school playground and we would be Dave Twardzik and Lionel Hollins (more on those guys in later blogs)

    by blazerdarren77 on 1/11/2012 3:44 PM
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