For the beginning of this series of photos I took at my first NBA game since 1989 when I went to Houston, Texas, and saw the Boston Celtics play the Houston Rockets, please look at http://portlandoregondailyphoto.blogspot.com/ on Oct. 11 and 12. Thanks!
The Blazer Stunt Team entertained at time outs and in between the different periods. I must admit that I held my breath when they tossed those smaller women up way high into the air.
I'm pretty sure that it was during the third quarter that the Stunt Team came back up into the stands and gave out free pizzas. I didn't try for one, but some little kids to my right got all excited when one of the guys handed one to them.
Twice when there was no action on the court, this inflated car floated around the arena. As far as I could tell, underneath it were two remote-control-operated round white rings with fan blades in their centers. When they changed directions--parallel or perpendicular to the bottom of the car--the car slowly changed directions. Both times it showed up, there were coupons in envelopes hanging from beneath the car. Every once in a while, a coupon detached and floated down into the out-stretched arms of an excited fan. I cannot remember exactly what was being given away, maybe a CD and/or a DVD from somewhere. If you look closely, you can see an envelope falling toward the crowd in the first photo. A man wearing a long-sleeved white shirt is pointing up towards it, with his right arm.
At halftime, a local dance group performed at center court. This young man came out last and danced. I'm guessing it's hip hop that he's doing. He was pretty good. That took quite a bit of courage, I think, to get out in front of possibly 13,000 people and dance!
According to the Trail Blazers' Web page, the Rose Garden Arena is in the process of being improved to make it much better for the fans. This scoreboard is a big part of that process; it got as much news coverage after this particular game--the opening pre-season game for the Blazers--as did the team's play. Here's what the Web site had to say about the scoreboard:
"Highlighting the improvements is a new video scoreboard at the Rose Garden that will be among the largest video scoreboards in the NBA. The new Mitsubishi screens measure 15’ x 22.5’ and are powered by a new state-of-the-art high-definition video control room."
A Blazer had made a three-point shot! Fireworks on the scoreboard! I love it.
Blaze the Trail Cat kept the crowd going at all times. He went up and down and all around more than once. I got these shots in the third quarter when he walked up, hitting a drum and stirring up the fans. He waved, he danced, he drummed, he put his paw to his head or held his head low when the Blazers missed a shot. At one point he was dancing in front of me, highly entertaining and funny, so I laughed out loud. He heard me and whipped around to give me a look--sort of like, What's up with you? Then he waved, like he was acknowledging that he knew he looked funny and that it was just fine with him that I laughed. I enjoyed the Blazers' mascot!
The Blazer Dancers changed outfits at least three times, danced and or waved red metallic pom-poms like cheerleaders, before the game, during time outs, half time, between periods. I have two thoughts about the dancers. Some, if not all, of those young ladies are going to need chiropractor visits at some point in their lives because they sling their heads and necks all over the place, in seemingly several different directions at once. Hair was flying! The other thought--thank goodness they all had a healthy size to them, no thin-as-a-rail, scary-looking women. I think that's a fantastic subliminal message they send to their numerous little girl fans. Congrats to the Blazer Dancers!
Something else I noticed about the game was the number of families in attendance--both parents and children, not just teens but toddlers, too--mixed in with all the rest of the fans. During the first half there was a sort of bowling contest on the court. A couple of nine-year-old boys threw basketballs as hard as the could across the court towards the bowling pins. The kid in front of the Blazers' bench won--I know not what.
Then at some point in the second half, there was a tricycle race--two little boys and this little girl peddled around the court, twice. Well, the little girl peddled, fast and furious. You can tell she had some speed going by looking at the letters she's riding over, at the bottom of the photo. She blew those little boys out of the arena--they couldn't get going the right direction or anything. Way to go, little girl!
Finally, here's a shot of the Blazers' bench. I took this because I wanted you to get a glimpse of Greg Oden, number one draft pick overall last June. He's wearing the dark sport coat at the lower left corner of the photo. Since he had that microfracture surgery, he's out all season. However, since he's just 19 and seems to savor every minute of being in Portland, I'm betting when Oden gets to play starting next October, all Portland Trail Blazer fans will be thrilled to see him on the court.