In our continuing series, College Basketball Narratives, we sit down with some of the most driven and accomplished athletes, coaches, television analysts and leaders in the world of basketball to talk about leadership, achievement and their life journey through the prism of sport.
In this episode, we caught up with former NBA great and the current head coach at the University of Portland, Terry Porter to talk about his rise out of Division III obscurity to become one of the best players, leaders and ferocious competitors the game has seen.
A former head coach with the Milwaukee Bucks and the Phoenix Suns, Porter is one of the most beloved players in Portland Trail Blazers franchise history.
His teams, featuring Clyde Drexler, Jerome Kersey, Buck Williams and the late Kevin Duckworth, made three consecutive Western Conference Finals appearances in the early 1990’s. He remains the Blazers’ all-time assists leader and twice led them to appearances in the NBA Finals in 1990 and 1992, where they lost to the Bad Boy Pistons and Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls.
A veteran of 17 NBA seasons, with ten of those years spent in Portland, the former All Star’s No. 30 jersey is retired by the Trail Blazers and now hangs in the rafters of The Rose Garden.
He also played for the Timberwolves, the Heat and the Spurs during his career.
"I just think they were great teams. More importantly, there were great guys on those teams. We just played so hard," Porter said when his jersey was retired, reflecting back on his days in Portland as one of the NBA’s best point guards.
“We just had a common goal to try to achieve something," he continued. "You know, the journey. Everybody always talks about the journey. Sometimes the journey happens and you don't get to the right ending, but the journey itself meant a lot for us all. I think we enjoyed the many rides and the bumps we had along the way, and the ups and downs and the growth we had as young men."
Now, as a college coach, that journey continues with a new group of young men as he tries to build something special with the University of Portland program.
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