Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Much Ado About...

In the last couple of days both Eric Marentette and Henry Abbott have dealt with the "Jailblazers" moniker being thrown around the national media. I understand why this is a sensitive issue to die-hard Blazer fans. Nobody likes to see the team into which you put your heart, soul, and passion branded that way, especially when the tag no longer fits. It's like they're calling you a fool for believing. Every teenager who's ever dated a guy her parents dislike because he once belched inappropriately at her family reunion has felt the same way. But honestly, I think collectively we need to put this one to bed and just let it go. Fretting about it won't do any good. It'll still pop up from time to time. I don't think it's any malice on the part of national media types, it's just human nature.

There's no statute of limitations on sports clichés. Every rounded, over-the-shoulder shot that a center puts up gets called a "Sky Hook" even when it looks nothing at all like Kareem's. You'll still hear old-timers reference the "Boston Bounce" when the Celtics haven't been anywhere near lucky for the better part of three decades. Once a label becomes part of the popular culture lexicon it sticks well beyond the endurance of its originator.

This is doubly true when the label is negative or spicy. Monica Lewinsky is probably somewhere living a rich, full, complex life right now, but what association do you draw with her name? Is that fair? Is it current? But you did it anyway. It's human. Like it or not, this team did go through a time when it either had the colossal misfortune or the colossal ineptitude to acquire the most motley collection of negative-press attractors ever seen in the modern era. That's going to be noticed and that image is going to stick. If you embezzle funds and are caught you may reasonably expect to be known by some permutation of "the embezzler" even after you have reformed and gotten on with your life. You can't blame media people for operating on the same principles.

In fact as I wrote to Eric Marentette the other day, I am actually starting to see a shift among national media folks in their handling of this matter. They are starting to talk about the Jailblazers as an "era" being "recalled" instead of current reality. In fact one could argue that the most current thing about the entire matter is the Portland fans' collective hand-wringing every time the subject gets brought up. I am not trying to bag on anyone who has written or commented...I'm GLAD people have defended the team in that way. But if we really are years after the fact I think we can stop now, let the references pass, and let the team itself prove the point.

Besides, I think we're missing the blessing in disguise in all this. Even more predictable than the media's overuse of cliché is its insatiable appetite for good stories. And everybody falls for the story of the bad guy made good. If and when we do rise again, they're going to give our reform far more attention than they ever gave our fall from grace. I can practically write the copy for them now. You'll just have to imagine the Dick Enberg-like voice doing it...

"They were once known more for arrests than assists, for blotters than buckets, as defendants rather than defenders, but those days are long gone. This is a NEW Portland Trailblazers squad, out to reclaim the glories of their distant past. Led by __________ and __________, they're seeking to challenge the powers-that-be, carving a place once again among the league's elite."

"That's right Dick. They used to leave their fingerprints at the police station but now they've left them all over this conference, compiling a 52-30 record and putting a scare into the more established teams."

"Can these former 'Bad Boys' make good on their playoff dreams? It's Blazers/Suns, and it's next!"

See how that works? Nifty, huh? Just you wait...

--Dave (blazersub@yahoo.com)

8 Comments:

Blogger BLAZER PROPHET said...

We have His Arrogance (Trader Bob) to thank for that moniker of 'jailblazers'.

12:42 PM  
Anonymous fatty said...

yes prophet i agree also the
nba media is the only media
in pro sports where the writers
are very biased,if they like
you you'll get all the hype
and if they don't like you
portland,phoenix,s.a.spurs
detroit,then they won't even
give you a snippin,case in
point d.stoudamire in toronto
a media stud,comes to portland
he's treated like he does'nt
exist,s.nash in dallas a stud
phoenix 2nba mvp's and people
wonder how,and the spurs the
team of this decade and they're
considered boring and dull
yet if you're overrated like
miami,houston,la.lakers,cleveland
then you get the love....
bottom line fellas,until
zach*darius are both gone the
moniker will still remain with
this franchise,and dave with
your d.enberg analogy,unless
b.roy or if god willing if
the blazers get noah or oden
playing allstar caliber ball
you'll never see the blazers
unless you have nba pass or
live in the pac.n.west area...

1:16 PM  
Blogger Ken said...

Just to reinforse your point, Dave, here is a trivia question:

Why do they call them "cagers"?

1:35 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

Used to be a cage in the locker room or something? Where the manager passed out the equipment? Something like that...

--Dave

1:39 PM  
Blogger Ken said...

If I am not mistaken, very early in the history of the game, the court was actually "caged" in much the same way a hockey game is today. I don't exactly know who's protection this was for.

Hence the name cagers. Something you heard a lot up until about ten years ago. The point is, the name lasted a whole lot longer than the cages did.

6:13 PM  
Blogger ignacio said...

i think ken's right. i dimly remember seeing some very old B&W footage where they played with chicken-wire to protect spectators from the ball.

7:43 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

Wow...you learn something new every day. If guys keep going in the stands I wonder if the chicken wire will make a return?

--Dave

9:25 PM  
Blogger Ken said...

Here's a real mystery... did I really write "reinforse"? Sheesh.

6:45 AM  

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