A few weeks ago I told you about the hidden meaning behind the Portland Trail Blazers’ logo.
Now there’s something else about the Western Conference finalists that I needed more info on.
What’s up with the team’s “Rip City” nickname?
Well, here’s how they got it, which was coined by the team’s legendary play-by-play announcer Bill Schonely during a game against the Los Angeles Lakers in 1971.
From Rip City Project:
The Trail Blazers struggled early, falling behind the Lakers by double-digits. It seemed that the Lakers would win handily, as expected, until the Trail Blazers made a significant push in the second half, bringing the game within two points. It was then that Trail Blazers guard Jim Barnett launched an ill-advised, deep shot to tie the game and play-by-play announcer Bill Schonely blurted out, “RIP CITY!”
The Trail Blazers would eventually lose 136-114, but that moment within the game lives in history. It is important to remember that although the ABA introduced the three-point field goal in the 1970s, it was not adopted by the NBA until the 1979-80 season. Barnett’s heave was considered more of a circus shot at the time, electrifying the crowd.
Schonely, the creator of other beloved Trail Blazers expressions like “Bingo Bango Bongo” and “You’ve got to make your free throws” does not know how he came up with the term “Rip City”.
Schonely did tell Sports Illustrated what “Rip City” means to him:
“The meaning of ‘Rip City,’ first and foremost,” Schonely begins, before taking a measured pause. “…Is it means something good, something positive.”
And he broke down the play in which it was born:
“I was right there at midcourt,” Schonely says, “and he literally stopped in front of our broadcasting spot, and, why, I’ll never know … but the ball was in flight. I watched it all the way, and I came out with … why, I have no idea … ‘RIP CITY, ALRIGHT!’
“We go to commercial, and I sit down at my chair to relax for a minute or two, and the guys at press row said, ‘Rip City? I said, ‘Yeah’.
So there you go. We now know more stuff, which good.
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