Cleveland has had a few nicknames (some more derogatory than others) over the years, but the most common one, The Land, seemed popularized over the last four years of Cavalier dominance. It even appeared on the alternate (and forgettable) grey, black and yellow uniforms of last year’s squad.
Meanwhile, Portland, where the Cavs visit the Trailblazers tonight, has also been known by many names. The City of Roses, Stumptown, Beervana and Bridge City… just to name a few. The most popular (at least in basketball circles), however, is Rip City. Being a purveyor of nicknames, I’m always curious where they come from… and, I’ve always wondered about the genesis of this particular colloquialism.
Here’s the explanation… quoted straight from Wikipedia…
The term was coined by the team’s play-by-play announcer Bill Schonely during a game against the Los Angeles Lakers on February 18, 1971, the Blazers’ first season. In the days prior to the three point field goal, Blazers guard Jim Barnett took an ill-advised long distance shot that nonetheless went in, giving the new team hope for a victory against the powerful Lakers. Excited, Schonely exclaimed “Rip City! All right!” Schonely admits that he has no idea how he came up with the expression, but it became synonymous with the team and the city of Portland.
Pretty random. But, pretty neat that it happened against the Lakers. It all makes sense now about why it’s always so tough for Los Angeles to win on the road in Portland. Speaking of the Lakers, thanks to them… the Cavs are no longer carrying the weight of a 12-game losing streak into the Moda Center. They’ll get a chance to see if their starters can build on the solid effort of Sunday night. Unfortunately, they still won’t have native Portland son, Kevin Love, back in their ranks for this one.
The Blazers have been one of the better teams in the West thus far this season, with their bellwether backcourt of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. Josef Nurkic has also been solid, and the surprising Jake Layman has filled in nicely for injured forward Moe Harkless. They’re coming off back-to-back disappointing road losses to Dallas and Sacramento, so the Cavs are likely to have their hands full once again.
Prediction: A motivated Blazers squad shows the young Cavs the true meaning of Rip City… 131-114.
It’s another late one on this West Coast swing… so drink some coffee and catch the action on FSO starting at 10pm EST… or set your DVR and watch the highlights with your morning coffee.