In the decade of the 1970s, eight NBA franchises — including the Trail Blazers and the SuperSonics — won NBA titles. In the 34 seasons since then, only nine franchises have won NBA championships — a number that won’t increase this June.
Take away the Dallas Mavericks (2011) and the Phildelphia 76ers (1983), and seven franchises have dominated the league since the Sonics won it all in 1979.
Granted the NBA of the 1970s was unusually balanced, perhaps because the ABA siphoned talent. Still, no sport has been dominated by a few powerful teams the way the NBA has during David Stern’s tenure as commissioner.
The other major pro sports leagues offer their fans a lot more hope.
Since 1980: In baseball, 19 franchises have celebrated World Series championships. In the NFL, 16 franchises (and 17 cities thanks to Al Davis) have won Super Bowls. In the NHL, 17 franchises have lifted Lord Stanley’s Cup.
The best solution for those who really want to experience a title celebration in Portland during their lifetime? Become soccer fans.
Friday was the 20th anniversary of the death of Drazen Petrovic.
The Croatian guard joined the Trail Blazers for the 1989-90 season after becoming a legend in Europe for his creative play. With Clyde Drexler and Terry Porter entrenched at guard for a Blazers team that reached the NBA Finals, Petrovic’s playing time was limited and his skill largely hidden.
That changed when Petrovic was traded to the Nets at midseason in 19911. By 1991-92, the year the Blazers lost to the Bulls in the finals, Petrovic was one of the best shooting guards in the NBA and a fan favorite in New Jersey.
He died at the age of 28 in a car accident on the German autobahn — just as he was entering his basketball prime — leaving the baskeball world with a sense of profound loss.