Dunking and Dancing at Trail Blazers Fan Fest
The Trail Blazers held their annual Fan Fest Saturday afternoon at Moda Center. The free event served as Rip City’s first look at their 2021-22 Trail Blazers and the end of the team’s Training Camp in preparation for the new season.
Unlike in previous years, as doors opened the fans walked into the middle of the team’s practice, getting a special glimpse at the squad running drills. Before the festivities truly began, head coach Chauncey Billups grabbed the mic and walked the crowd through some defensive drills, led by assistant coach Roy Rogers.
“I thought it was an awesome turnout,” said Billups of his first taste of Moda Center as head coach of the Trail Blazers. “Tons and tons of fans out there…I’ve done these kinds of things forever, and I can’t remember having a turnout like that. We were happy about that, and I felt like the guys fed off that energy too.”
The start of the game looked a bit like the NBA All-Star Three-Point Contest, as the first five buckets on the board were from deep. What followed was some of the same along with a handful of dunks fit for an exhibition game.
The team gave the fans what they wanted at halftime – a dunk contest – featuring last year’s NBA Slam Dunk Champion Anfernee Simons, Nassir Little and rookie Greg Brown. There were no winners and losers, but you figure the season will offer its fair share of highlight-reel slams from those three and the rest of the roster.
The 16-minute scrimmage came down to the final moments. After Simons hit a jumper that gave the Black Team a 36-35 lead with 1.6 seconds remaining, the Grey Team had one last shot. In an out-of-bounds play that might have reminded you of Damian Lillard’s shot with 0.9 seconds against Houston, Keljin Blevins came off a screen with a good look behind the three-point line, but it just rimmed off.
Following the ever-popular rookie song and dance featuring Brown, Trendon Watford and (last year’s rookie) CJ Elleby, there was some hardware to hand out. Thanks in large part to his game winner, Simons took home the Fan Fest MVP trophy while surrounded by his teammates.
Next up for Portland is the preseason opener Monday night against Golden State at Moda Center. The 7 pm contest will be the first Trail Blazers broadcast on ROOT SPORTS and will also be available on Rip City Radio and along the Trail Blazers Radio Network.