An Open Letter to Steve Patterson

Chris Bouneff

Dear Mr. Patterson,

You suck. There really is no getting around it. You're as big a cancer on Portland and the Blazers franchise as Bob Whitsitt was. Only Whitsitt put together some great playoff years before his constant tinkering did him in. You haven't done squat.

Well, that's not true. You lost the Rose Garden in a gamble that, from the outside, you apparently didn't expect to lose. The bondholders stuck it to you, however, and the Blazers lost a vital revenue stream.

You also argued against baseball coming to Portland. Not that I believed baseball could survive here, either, but that sure seemed self-serving.

And who can forget your wonderful halftime performance in which you tried to defend returning Darius Miles' fine? It was like the NBA's version of Dick Cheney telling everyone to go to hell, although the text of your statement wasn't as bad as your delivery. The text alone raises only mild indignation.

Side Note No. 1: Of course, you also said this: "We have a lot of work to do with our team and our organization before we can once again claim Rip City. " I don't think anyone realized what you really wanted was a claim to Rip City's public resources.

Side Note No. 2: From the 25-point pledge: "To educate our players so that they will understand why Portland and Oregon is a special place to play and what it means to be a Portland Trail Blazer." Maybe you should include the GM in that education.

Oh, and then there's the constant rebuilding. John Canzano, who I don't think can see past the current emotion he's feeling when he writes, hit on something this morning as he actually looked over the longer term. You can't seem to find a plan for the franchise. Or maybe you're following the Chicago Bulls' plan. Just keep drafting high school players until you become what, by NBA standards, is a mediocre team drifting just under .500.

Some of these developments are surprising. After all, you had success with the Houston Rockets. They won a title of which you can claim a share. Was that a fluke?

And you brought in Nate McMillan. That seemed a very smart move. Was that also a fluke?

Because you definitely are no Joe Dumars. Or Geoff Petrie. At least you're not Isaiah Thomas. Hell, it might be better if you were an Elgin Baylor. Then we'd all know to expect crap.

Some will inevitably say to the seventh richest man in the world and to the Blazers -- you want to leave? Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.

I say that the franchise must stay. You should go. And don't let the door hit you on the way.

Because you suck.


A lifelong Blazers fan and Portland native

  • Sid Leader (unverified)

    Memo to Stevie, aka Mr. $200 haircut:






  • Varner (unverified)

    I really want to add to this open letter but I'm worried this is a site visited by children and so I can't use the only accurate words to describe Steve Patterson. You suck is a good start, but really falls short of how much of a complete ...

  • BlueNote (unverified)

    The Blazers are a private for-profit business. Not a charity, not a public utility. They would like some city money, just like every other large business in Portland. Personally, I would rather see the Blazers get some cash from the city instead of the endless tax giveaways to the next twenty high rise condo projects in the Pearl or South Waterfront, but everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Why the personal attacks on a man associated with the Blazers? Are some of you spurned lovers? Just wondering.

  • Ted (unverified)


    Let's face it, if Paul Allen didn't have the great fortune to have met up with Bill Gates, he'd probably be a computer tech for a small company, because he has no business sense other than the constant circle of bootlicks that great wealth attracts. First he allowed Whitsett to destroy the team before finally firing the moron, then he hires Nash and resigned him.

    What did Nash say when he came here? He promised to change the teams ethics. What did he do? He undermined (along with Patterson) a popular and (all things considering) successful Coach Cheeks, before rudely firing him. He spent big money on Miles and Ratliff only to seek vainly for someone to buy up their contracts. Rasheed Wallace, one of the top ten players in the NBA, gets sent to Atlanta only to replace him with an older and nearly as expensive player. Then when that strategy fails and the Blazers end the longest playoff streak in NBA history, he suddenly has this epiphany about a "youth movement." So he dumps everybody he can and never bothers to call Damon Staudamire, who came off two of his best (and most mature) seasons. Staudamire signs with Memphis at $4 million a year, which would have been a bargain to keep him around to develop his young point guards. Yet Nash seemed to feel Cheeks (an NBA champion point guard) was wrong not to shove playground phenom Telfair into the starting line-up. In retrospect, you would have to say Cheeks was right. Telfair is performing nearly up to how he did being mentored under Staudamire.

    But hey, we're talking YOUTH MOVEMENT, right? The same successful strategy that sent the Golden State Warriors from annual playoff contenders to years of youth movement misery with Sprewell, Joe Smith, etc. Never mind that I don't think anybody has ever kept a high school age team together long enough to turn it into a championship team in the history of the NBA. So here we are sticking to the youth movement. Might as well, since Nash blew the opportunity to get Vince Carter or Jason Kidd.

    With all this YOUTH MOVEMENT in mind, of course it makes perfect sense that we should trade the Blazers most energetic player in Ruben Patterson to an interdivision rival for Vashon Leonard, a veteran near the end of his NBA career. Sure Patterson was disgruntled, but that wouldn't have anything to do with being publicly spited by his GM or seeing the coach who reformed him as a player (Mo Cheeks) crapped on by the front office, would it? Here's an idea, maybe the Rasheed Wallace who is beloved by his team mates in Detroit wasn't the bad guy after all? Maybe if it had not been for narcissistic GMs like Whitsett and Nash, Rasheed would have fit with the Blazers like he fits with Detroit.

    So thank you Chris for pointing out that this team doesn't have a plan except whatever keeps Nash and Patterson, and Whitsett before them, in the good graces of their billionaire sugar daddy. The Blazers have traded away one of the best rosters in the NBA and got very little in return except some vague, long-term promise that this YOUTH MOVEMENT is going to work out better in Portland than it has down in Oakland for the last 20 years.

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    You know, this is a question totally based on following the team and the NBA from the media, but does Nash really have as much sway as some of the best GMs in the business? Or many of the GMs in the business? I look at Patterson as being the de facto GM via his role as president of the team.

    I wonder whether Nash has had the ability to be a full GM. I've figured it's Patterson ultimately calling the shots, which is why I comapre Patterson to other GMs in the NBA rather than Nash.

  • Mr. Magoo (unverified)

    I hate the Trailblazers. I wish they would pack up and leave on the next flight out of town. Any politician who advocates for bailing out this team should pack his bags and depart on the same flight. Let Paul Allen sucker some other city into financing his overpaid roster of players.

  • Iz (unverified)

    I'm not questioning the posts above, but I will say that Portland journalists, and fans over the past few years have become accustom to playing the victims card - palease!

    I'm sure I'll get hung out to dry for defending players in this manner, but it's what I think...

    The witchhunt began with Sheed, then Damon, Ruben - on and on... It's no secret that Portland may be one of the most progressive communities in the country, it's also one of the least diverse urban environments in America. Many are now calling it the Boulder on the Pacific - ah, scary!

    Not so long ago those same fans screamed that they didn't care if they Blazers won, or lost - they wanted a team that more or less wasn't ghettofied. If you could talk to the press, walk the line, and be a respectful than we could deal with the loses.

    If the Blazers where making a bid for the NBA championship year this conversation wouldn't even be happening - cuz the beer would be flowing, and the fans would be electrified. The money would be a mute point.

    It's funny to hear people say, oh, Paul Allen's got money. The players have money - why should we support them. Well, the fact of the matter is, people who can afford to go to Blazer games on a regular basis, and hold season tickets have money too...

    Poor people aren't driving the support base for the Portland Trailblazers even though they are every bit as impassioned as any other fan.

    Poor people didn't mind Sheed, because he spoke language. In fact, I would wager that most poor people loved Sheed. He didn't speak the language of the Portland press core, so they hung him out to dry.

    North and Northeast Portland loved Damon. Ruben was the hardest playing player to wear a Blazer uniform this season, regardless of his mishaps. All of those players spoke the languange - something the O, and Trib reportes could never capture. In a way, it's mirror reflection of those papers lack of coverage concerning in number of issues from those same neighborhoods.

    If the Blazers leave Portland it will be a sad day - and not because "duckets" are involved, but becase once upon a time, the Blazers unified the city. White, black, rich, poor - it didn't matter, it was RIP! And the buzz was buzzing...

  • (Show?)

    Paul Allen's business judgment is suspect but he is brilliant at things having to do with humans and computers. Paul wouldn't be where he is today without Bill Gates but Bill wouldn't be where he is today without Paul Allen either.

    Rasheed Wallace, Clyde Drexler, Clifford Robinson--all guys the Trailblazers wanted to be DA MAN who would step up and take the team on their shoulders. That was a role none of them were suited for. They each reacted differently: Clyde kept trying anyway, Cliff whined and Rasheed rebelled. As soon as they left the Blazers Clyde and Rasheed both played on championship teams where someone else was the go-to guy. Now in his 17th year in the league, Cliff scored 23 points against Miami a couple of weeks ago.

  • Ted (unverified)

    Wow! Real Blazer fans, not like the ones who blog on Oregon Live. I'm impressed.

    Chris, Lz, Doretta - You are all correct. First let me say, I will always support the Blazers players, so long as management sucks. The superbillionaire can't put together a good management team, because he's too susceptible to having his ass kissed and startstruck.

    Lz is 100% correct that the only people who really chaffed about the Blazers were the same West Hills and Lake Oswego crowds that keeping pushing to spend millions to make downtown Portland look like Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. Wallace, Staudamire, Patterson, Wells... It was vaudeville that was no more dangerous to Portland than a single meth dealer in Lents. Yet the way The Oregonian and Portland Tribune reacted editorially, you would have thought that Rasheed didn't just throw a towl in the face of Arvidas Sabonis, he raped his daughter. Meanwhile, ancient nemesis, LA Lakers and their superstar actually is raping young girls, but John Conzano loves to reflect on his great Bonzi-bashes, as though continued Bonzi controversy might get him into syndication.

    What Raw-Sheed said was what many of the Blazers' fans were feeling--like management was screwing it all up. Working class Blazer fans were saying, "We are here, we make the ratings of your games on TV, buy your logos, and sit in the cheap sits making all the noise." So the Blazers were the 70's Oakland Raiders of basketball. So what? It was always exciting, unpredictable, and fun.

  • howard (unverified)

    But Darius Miles earns every dollar!

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    Ugh, don't even get me started on the OL "Blazer fans." I was a moderator over there for over 2 years (01-03), and it was a losing battle.

    I happen to have been a Sheed fan. He got in trouble sometimes, but that seemed to come after the team management had been pressuring him for a while-- like he just took so much that he finally exploded on the next person to say something to him.

    We've never paid for a game, as we definitely can't afford them, but have been to the games several times. My husband's work used to be a corporate sponsor, but dropped after all the problems they were having. My husband was awarded tickets several times for his hard work. I also was given a pair by the team in thanks for a letter I'd written to them. I loved watching the team we had then-- they were fun, energetic, won games, and sent us home with a coupon for a free Chalupa. The place was packed.

    I was disappointed to see Sheed leave. I was also disappointed to see Damon go after he'd finally cleaned up and was doing fairly well.

    It was awful what they did to Cheeks, as was as Dunleavy. They give the coaches very little power, but then expect everything of them. When they punish a player for something, they get reprimanded.

    I'd love to see the entire management and ownership (not coaches, though) gone from this team. As my dad said when we were little-- they're hinderers, not helpers.

    I come from Houston, and am actually a Rockets fan. I remember being at a leadership camp, walking back to the dorms from the Museum of Fine Arts, and having people drive by yell out the current score to the champiobship game that was on. Being interrupted watching one of the games by OJ Simpson's "high speed chase." I loved that team, and I can tell you-- it does seem that it was a fluke what Steve Patterson did there. The coach (our beloved Rudy T) and the wonderful team that he worked with that did the job. Patterson just happened to be there.

  • W. Bruce Anderholt II (unverified)

    Good news for the Blazers: recruitment may get a whole lot easier if the proposed marijuana decriminalization initiative makes it onto the November Ballot. I LOVE this game!

    SUMMARY:The measure adopts a City ordinance making law enforcement activities relating to adult marijuana-related offenses the City’s lowest law enforcement priority. Lowest priority does not apply to specified marijuana offenses relating to minors, specified offenses occurring on public property, private property or near businesses, driving under the influence of marijuana, or offenses occurring within 1,000 feet of schools. Affected law enforcement activities include investigation, citation, arrest, property seizure, prosecution assistance and cooperation with state and federal agencies. The City could not accept funds to be used for enforcing adult marijuana-related offenses. The measure creates a citizen oversight committee to aid implementation of measure, collect grievances and report to City Council. The measure requires Portland Police and other agencies enforcing marijuana laws to submit reports to citizen committee and requires citing or arresting officers to submit reports to citizen committee after arrest, citation or property seizure for marijuana-related offenses. The Mayor must send an annual letter to voters and federal and state officials describing the City measure and requesting federal and state action.

  • Iz (unverified)

    Miles is great. He's got that East St. Louis swagger - probably a little intemidating to the cats on the hill. What, a black man is moving into our gated community. We put those walls up for a reason, honey. A black man can't make millions of dollars playing a boys game while thousands of us make millions off of real estate, not in my town, dammit.

  • Ted (unverified)

    Chris struck a nerve, so I'm going to keep blogging. I've been a dedicated Blazer fan since 1976. Even though Whitsett decided he needed to rebuild the Blazers after a first round exit in 94, when Drexler was injured and big man Dudley missed most of the year, AND... virtually the whole team had three or four years left to make a run in them (Strickland in his prime, Clyde, Porter, Kersey, Adelman, etc. having productive years elsewhere), BUT at least they remained competitive. Yes, they got bounced in first round each year, but they were also a team that nobody wanted to meet in the first round, and they were always exciting to watch. They didn't advance, but each season had a 10-15 game winning streak that showed they could beat the best on any given night. And they eventually rebuild (albeit with an open checkbook from Allen) and went back to the Conference finals a few years later.

    Well, that legacy was frivolously thrown away when they traded Wallace. Trying to appease their rich suite buyers (ultimately what the strategy was all about) didn't work, because these folks don't want professional basketball, they want to take their kids to Disneyworld at the Rose Garden. Unfortunately, Disneyworld ain't all that fun if the rides don't work. And the Blazer Marketing dept's targeted season ticket buyers ain't showing up anymore.

    Was it necessary, Paul Allen? Look at the all-star cast that was cast off. Aaron McKie, Kenny Anderson (never was $6 million/year less point guard than Damon), Jermaine O'Neil (the guy who beat everybody in practice, but couldn't get any time on the court), Jim Jackson, Alvin Williams... The list goes on. Spending top dollar to buy every superstar that comes available didn't work for Al Davis in the 90s and it hasn't worked for Ted Turner lately either.

    I still like Paul Allen, but the Seahawks wouldn't have gone to the Superbowl this year had Whitsett not been sacked, and Jenni is right--he needs to clean house and do it lock-step with the advice of McMillan. Drexler wants to be a GM and even though he isn't that experienced, he knows more about the game than Patterson and Nash ever will. The Oregonian and Tribune should not be directing so much criticism at (uh... black) players when it's the (ahem... white) management (that refuses to travel by cab and insists on limo service) that has screwed this team up.

  • (Show?)

    I'll be a dissenter to the idea that people in Portland had a problem with players because they were black and that it's only the fat cats who didn't like the whole "Jailblazer" routine.

    This whole town loved Clyde, Jerome, Terry and Buck and we were fond of Kevin too, even if we did find him a bit perplexing at times. That was partly because they won games but also because they acted like decent human beings, good teammates and just generally assets to the community. We loved Brian even when the team wasn't winning so much with him on it. Brian hustled like crazy on the court and gave back to the community. He's the kind of guy you could feel good about your kids looking up to. Plus we thought he looked really cute in those dreads.

    I think the charge that the issue is that Portland is racist is actually the racist notion. The underlying assumption there is that African American equates to thug. If you are African American you will naturally spit on fans, threaten the refs, trash your teammates, fight dogs, drive under the influence and possess stolen property? --Oh yeah, and try to strangle your coach then threaten to return with a gun?

    We're just being our quirky Oregonian selves, a little idealistic, maybe a little old-fashioned. Even a lot of us liberals value teamwork and effort and good citizenship and just plain niceness. We also reject the notion that only white people have those characteristics. Portland adored Mo Cheeks and we like Nate McMillan too, despite their teams' lack of wins.

  • Iz (unverified)


    You've made some great points, and I agree with many of them, but...

    "I think the charge that the issue is that Portland is racist is actually the racist notion"

    I think my point was, while Portland may be progressive and not outwardly racist it's "economically racist."

    While most cities deal with segragation due to a history of racism, Portland has done nothing over the past 40 years to develop a vision on how to incorporate more minority communities into the cities liviablity. Instead, two of the only African American neighborhoods in the entire city are being displaced. If we lose North and NE Portland, the city is no longer segreated, it's entirely white.

    Sure, we have China town - how many Asian people live in China town comparred to other International Districts up and down the west coast? We have a small, but growing Latino population that is currently dealing the backlashes of nationalism, but comparred to other major urban settings, it's a lopsided number. That's a major problem, and because of that, it's magnified on and off the basketball court in the context race, and economics.

    The gaps between the haves and have nots are everywhere within our society. How many millionares live in Portland, or Oregon? Why is that only sports fiures, often times from the miniority community are held to the fire for making lots of money? The Trib, and the O could choose run stories on the personal lives of every develper in this city, and uncover lots and lots of dirt - but they don't. Why do the personal lives of the Trailblazers matter so much?

  • (Show?)

    The Trib, and the O could choose run stories on the personal lives of every develper in this city, and uncover lots and lots of dirt - but they don't. Why do the personal lives of the Trailblazers matter so much?

    Sorry, but this is a severe case of overthinking. Quick, name three Portland developers. How many other Portlanders could do that? How many could even name Homer Williams, whose name appears in the O and the Trib on a regular basis? How many kids do you know who have a poster of a developer on their wall? Collect developer trading cards? Watch developers on TV? Wear their favorite developer's jersey? It's not primarily about money. Professional athletes are icons. There was a time when successful developers were filthy rich but professional athletes weren't. It was still the athletes who were on the trading cards.

    As far as that business of "being held to the fire for making lots of money" goes, you might want to check back in this thread and the other one about the Blazers. Paul Allen got kicked around pretty good here for having the nerve to be rich.

  • Iz (unverified)


    And Doretta, I do think you have some vailid points...

    Do I know the names of developers who are contributing to the direction Portland is headed in the 21st Century, and will have ten times more of an impact of the lives of children in this community than a professional athlete - no, I don't. Should we, absolutely. That was my point.

    The argument that kids idolize sports figures, therefore a sports figure owe society something is a crock. That argument is as old as the sun. The media has a choice on how to spin a story, and what is news worthy. Kids are barraged with a million and one things we could talk about having a negative or postivie impact on their lives - a Trailblazers personal life isn't one of them.

    And Paul Allen is not being held to any fire - he's the 7th richest man in the world. We don't have that kind of fire.

  • (Show?)

    Do I know the names of developers who are contributing to the direction Portland is headed in the 21st Century, and will have ten times more of an impact of the lives of children in this community than a professional athlete - no, I don't. Should we, absolutely. That was my point.

    You think we should know the names of developers? Yet, you obviously have the resources to learn that info and you haven't done it? What does that mean? it would probably take you three minutes with Google to come up with the names of three Portland developers. You think it's vitally important but you haven't done it? If you, who think the information is vitally important, haven't been interested enough to look it up, then I'd say it's fair to say the newspapers are just reflecting a general public disinterest in the subject--because most people wouldn't even say that's something they think they should know. That was my point.

    The argument that kids idolize sports figures, therefore a sports figure owe society something is a crock.

    Yeah? Go back and read what I said. You won't find that argument in my posts anywhere. I think it's legitimate for people to prefer sports figures who give back to the community but I didn't say anything about sports figures owing society any more than anyone else. I think nearly everyone can give back to the community and it's a good thing when they do.

    What I said was, professional athletes are icons. People are interested in them. People want to read about them. When they do things, people care. That's why newspapers write about them.

  • Iz (unverified)

    Fair enough. You make great points.

    I'll do my research next time.

  • Adam (unverified)

    I am from St. Louis and picked up on Rasheed and co. in 1999. I loved the team , the swagger, the passion for the game that they had. Yea, sheed had his run-ins with the law and said some things that he probably could have kept in, but thats what makes him who he is. I've read all the things written locally about Rasheed, and I saw a comment above saying that they make out Rasheed to be a child molestor or something of that nature and that couldn't be more true. I was a hawks fan for about 5 days or so (one of 20 on the planet) until sheed got shipped to Detroit, which couldn't have worked out better. Sheed thriving in Detroit (with dale davis), damon was having a good season in Memphis before he got hurt, Bonzi likewise in Sactown (as well as Abdur-Rahim). Meanwhile, back in Portland, the character is going nowhere. Telfair is carrying a gun, so the run-ins havent stopped. They just traded another "jail-blazer" in Ruben Patterson to yet another play-off team in Denver. I just thinks its hilarious that they had 3 goals to accomplish. Of the three, the character is no better, the team is no longer competitive, and I don't know what they have gained on the cap, but revenue is down so clearly things aren't going right. I leave you with this quote from the ever quotable 'sheed:

    Reporter: John Nash said that he thinks you have more talent than Kenyon Martin, but that he is more intense and brings more tenacity. Your thoughts?

    Sheed: I don't give a shit what John Nash thinks. You see where his thinking got him. You got anything else?

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