Terry Porter’s No. 30 Retired By Trail Blazers
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- For a night, Terry Porter put aside the pressures of his first season as head coach of the Phoenix Suns and reveled in his past as a Portland Trail Blazer.
With family, friends and former teammates looking on, the Blazers retired Porter's No. 30 jersey on Tuesday night at the Rose Garden. Fans gave him a standing ovation and one shouted above the rest, "Terry, you're awesome!"
Porter played for the Blazers from 1985-95. He anchored a team that went to the Western Conference finals three times from 1990 to 1992, and to the NBA finals twice.
The starters on that team were Porter, Clyde Drexler, Jerome Kersey, Buck Williams and the late Kevin Duckworth, but the group would never win a title. In 1990, the Blazers lost to the Detroit Pistons, and in 1992 they couldn't overcome Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls.
Years have tempered the disappointment of missing out on a championship.
"I just think they were great teams. More importantly, there were great guys on those teams. We just played so hard," Porter said. "Who knows, at another time, you never can tell.
"We just had a common goal to try to achieve something. You know, the journey. Everybody always talks about the journey. Sometimes the journey happens and you don't get to the right ending, but the journey itself meant a lot for us all. I think we enjoyed the many rides and the bumps we had along the way, and the ups and downs and the growth we had as young men."
A two-time All-Star, Porter remains Portland's career leader in assists (5,319) and is its second-leading scorer (11,330). He made a franchise-leading 773 3-pointers on 2,006 attempts. During his tenure with the Blazers, he averaged 14.9 points and seven assists. He had eight triple-doubles.
Asked to describe his strength as a player Porter replied: "toughness, probably. A will to win."
Porter was the 24th overall pick by the Blazers in the 1985 draft out of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. He left the Blazers as a free agent after the 1994-95 season and went on to play seven more seasons in the NBA before retiring.
Porter was coach of the Milwaukee Bucks for two seasons between 2003-05. He took over as head coach of the Suns this past summer after Mike D'Antoni left for the New York Knicks.
The Suns have been something of a work in progress for Porter, who has tried to instill a more deliberate, defensive-minded system than the up-tempo style the Suns previously used. Phoenix has started to find a balance, but the season's start has been rocky.
Porter said he could separate to enjoy Portland's celebration -- briefly.
"I'm going to enjoy this night as far as what I've been able to achieve in my basketball career as a player," he said. "When the night's over, I'll start thinking about the Suns and the Trail Blazers matchup a little bit. I told the guys in Phoenix I'd be doing some advance scouting tonight."
On Thursday -- when the Blazers host the Suns -- Portland will similarly honor Bobby Gross, who also wore No. 30. Gross started on the Blazers' 1976-77 team that won the NBA championship.
Portland is just the third NBA team to retire a jersey in honor of multiple players. New York has retired No. 15 for Dick McGuire and Earl Monroe, while Boston has retired No. 18 for Dave Cowens and Jim Loscutoff.
Copyright 2008 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.