[Stadiums]: My Road Trip to See the Blazers

View of the Moda Center from my hotel. Portland has a beautiful combo of city and nature to enjoy.
Blazers stickers and Rip City signs scattered all across town.
Walking down to courtside to watch shootaround. Check out the scoreboards and you’ll see this stadium is still very low tech/old school which, during the game especially, was super refreshing not to have blaring music and sensory overload. I actually had basketball conversations with complete strangers sitting next to me and nobody had to raise their voice so the other could hear them. What a pleasure!
Had a great hoops conversation with an courtside usher for a good 20 minutes while Ayton, Murray and Brogdon got some shots up pre-game. She had worked Blazers games for years and had a lot of great stories. Also, in one of the highlights of the night Mike Schmitz, Blazers Assistant GM and former ESPN and Draft Express draft analyst walked by. I immediately yelled out, “Hey Miiiike!,” and he turned and looked at me smiling to which I responded with a “Draft Express 4 Life!”
Special t-shirts for the home opener!
Got hungry and went to find some dinner. Lots of interesting fresh food choices and some great craft beer options too, including this vegetarian gem with portabella mushrooms.
On the way back to my seats I saw some kids getting these certificates, so I asked for one too. No better souvenir from the trip then this.
Loved the Blazers fans! They are passionate but they are also pretty laid back and cool. It was a very diverse crowd of old and young with everyone proudly wearing their gear. Was a beautiful sight to see the variety of jerseys and old school merch combined with the new stuff.
The one and only Scoot Henderson being introduced for his first official home game (cue pyrotechnics)! Needless to say, the crowd was hyped! Oh, and every time he makes a good play they yelled “Scooooooooot!”
Magic led most of the game, but Blazers battled back with odd lineup combos like this one that combined Time Lord and Ayton.
Cool to see Mr. Big Shot himself on the sidelines. Not sure this is what he signed up for when he went to Portland, but he be a very good fit for a young team needing to develop a strong work ethic.
Had to grab this shot of Franz and Paolo, a dangerous combo for years to come for the Magic–and a dangerous combo in this game too, shutting down the frisky Blazers in crunch time to get the W.
Mandatory Scoot dribbling over the Blazers logo commemorative photo…check! All in all, a GREAT time. I can’t recommend Portland enough. Literally my only minor complaint about the experience was that I really wanted some Rip City Remix gear and they didn’t have any in the various shops within the stadium. Granted, it’s their first year in the G League, so maybe it will take a few.