Thursday, November 20, 2008

Inconsequential Tales of Blazer-Fan Interaction: Zach Randolph

Due to the recent positive franchise developments, signs of rabid Portland Trailblazer fandom creeping back into the city are everywhere. You notice little things like Blazer talk on the bus and more people wearing team gear. You notice big things like people greeting Rudy Fernandez at the airport, or chanting DEE-FENSE at preseason games. Also on the rise are the number of people excitedly telling stories of their public encounters with Trailblazers past and current. Most of these are lame; "I saw Martell Webster at Cheesecake Factory!" But some, while just as inconsequential, are indeed potentially funny. Some of these tales are from my experiences, some have been related to me. All will be told in third person, because third person is awesome and I am a pussy. I'll probably add some exaggeration for your entertainment. Actually, just to be on the safe side, assume they are all fake. If you have any personal accounts that could be used as inspiration, send them in. Our first one, about a magical encounter with Cliff Robinson, can be found here.

It was February 2007 and our Fan had time to kill in the Las Vegas airport. There was still over an hour until his return flight to Portland. He had been in town for the MAGIC event, but as a basketball fan it was a happy coincidence that the NBA All-Star festivities were happening in the same place at the same time. He had already seen numerous celebrities in his week there, from Dr. Dre (who looked really old) to Shaquille O'Neal. He even got a picture with Ball Walton, who erupted with a yell of "Go Blazers!" after our Fan told him his city of origin. It had been a fun week.

Now bored but clinging to a festive mood, our Fan walked up to the airport bar. He ordered a duckfart.

"What is that?" he heard a man sitting at the bar ask him.

Our fan turned to answer the anonymous man, then noticed it was Zach Randolph. Sitting alone in all his Z-Bo glory, he was dripping in jewelry that probably cost more than our Fan could ever hope to make in his life-time. After the few seconds necessary for a human brain to process that Zach Randolph is sitting next to you at the airport, he had a reply.

"You never had one?" he asked. Z-Bo shrugged.

"Make it two" our Fan told the bartender.

They got their drinks, tapped glasses, and downed the beverages. Zach thought it was palatable, and ordered our Fan a Grey Goose & Cranberry in return.

"Not stayin for the game?" Our fan asked.

"No, headin back." Z-Bo responded.

Some more small chat and our Fan finished off his Z-Bo vodka cran, wished him well, and set off in search of a quick bite to eat. He was now fully content that he would be returning to Portland with a handful of decent anecdotes. In the coming days discussion of the scene in Las Vegas would be played out in the media. Bill Simmons would even write a weird article about it.

He got some fast-food, wandered for a little while longer, and finally boarded his flight home. He noticed Zach up in first class, who was keeping the flight-attendent busy with drink orders. Our Fan kicked himself for not realizing that he and Zach were waiting for the same flight. Had he hung around a little longer, perhaps he could have partied with Zach at high-altitude.

The flight went on, and our Fan grew tired of stalking the power forward. He fell asleep and didn't awake until landing. The plane touched down and our Fan made his way to baggage claim. He noticed a man helping Zach load his bags into the trunk of a car that featured the biggest wheels ever created by man. Bags in place, Zach's helper closed the trunk and dutifully climbed into the passenger seat. Randolph slid behind the wheel and the two took off.

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