Ever wonder about those jerseys hanging from the rafters in the Rose Garden? We're giving you an overview of all the special people who have had their jerseys retired in Portland.
Jersey Number: 36
Selected in 3rd round, 31st pick overall, in the 1972 NBA Draft out of Tennessee State. A regular starter in only one of his seven seasons with the Blazers, Lloyd Neal earned the respect and admiration of teammates and fans alike for his grit, first for going head-on in game after game with players much taller than he, then for off the bench to play whatever front-court position the coaches needed during the flush seasons of 1976-77 and 1977-78.
Lloyd earned NBA All-Rookie Team honors and was runner-up to Bob McAdoo for Rookie of the year honors in 1972-73 when he stepped in as Portlandís starting center in his very first professional season and went up against much bigger foes such as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, Nate Thurmond, Walt Bellamy and Bob Lanier. But in that rookie season, he averaged 13.4 points and 11.8 rebounds (the best ever by a Portland first year-player) while starting 81 of 82 games.
Lloyd missed only one game in his first three seasons but wear and tear on his knees began to take a toll. In the next three campaigns he was forced to the sidelines in 59 games with injuries; After playing in the first four games of 1978-79, he went to the sidelines for good and announced his retirement in mid-season because recurring knee problems. He finished his career by averaging 11.1 points and 7.7 rebounds in 435 games, including 208 starts. But the hard-working Neal will most be remembered for his consistent play while backing up both Bill Walton and Maurice Lucas during the championship year and the season that followed.
After retiring, he launched a long career with the Internal Revenue Service in Portland.
Number retired on March 24, 1979, the first by the Trail Blazers organization.