Blazer Banter

Trail Blazers, fans back together at Fan Fest

Every year for the Trail Blazers, Fan Fest kicks off the season. The players play in front of the Rip City faithful and give them a little taste of what’s in store. In a way, Nicolas Batum says, it’s the Trail Blazers having a family reunion.

“Like I always say it was a good first reunion, like a family reunion, before the season starts,” Batum said. “You know, we’ve been gone for like four or five months. Some guys to go Wisconsin, some go to Spain, to France for me, Texas and the fans they’ve been at home but I think it’s good just have this reunion before the season starts and just to have fun together. it’s pretty good.”

The news from Saturday afternoon regarding CJ McCollum‘s broken foot put a slight damper on things, but the Trail Blazers were able to get some work in and give the fans a show. Thomas Robinson was named the MVP of the game with 17 points, 12 rebounds and five assists, including one-for-one on threes for the winning White team. Will Barton led all scorers with 20 points along with seven rebounds and four assists. For Robinson, this was his first taste of Trail Blazers fans from the home side of things.

“It’s good. I’m happier the fans just came out and supported us. We could have been jumping rope and I think that many people would have showed up to watch us,” he said. “So, I heard all summer about the fans and how supportive they are, win, lose or draw and I really enjoyed that. It makes me feel like you’re home and you’ve got somebody having your back.”

Another aspect about the Wells Fargo Fan Fest is that admission is free, allowing fans that cannot make it to games at the Moda Center to see their beloved Trail Blazers up close and personal. For Damian Lillard, it was something he looked forward to.

“I was excited about it,” Lillard said. “Because it’s this type of thing is something that would be embraced and people would love it where I’m from because everybody can’t afford to go see the basketball games and the football games. Just the fact that people might not be able to afford tickets or might not be able to get here regularly, that they got the opportunity to see us up close and personal, for free. We got to greet them at the door, they got to shake our hands and speak to us and get up close and personal so I think that it’s great that they get that opportunity especially for the people that don’t get a chance to see us during the season a lot.”

From a basketball standpoint, LaMarcus Aldridge (quad), Mo Williams (right ankle), Earl Watson (left calf) all did not participate in the scrimmage. Stotts said that the status for Aldridge and Williams for Monday’s preseason game against the Clippers has not been decided but did say that Watson would not play.

“It’s no rush right now,” Aldridge said regarding his status for Monday. “I feel better, I practiced all yesterday. I went up and down with all the guys. I felt good, but I was a little bit sore afterwards so right now it’s better to be safe than sorry.”

The Trail Blazers have their first preseason game on Monday against the Los Angeles Clippers at 7PM at the Rose Garden. The only game broadcast that will be available will be on radio on 620 AM.

Erik Gundersen

Erik Gundersen is the Trail Blazers beat reporter for The Columbian. He's a graduate of the Allen School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Oregon in addition earning a degree in Spanish. He started writing about NBA Basketball for SwishScout.com before being the Sports Reporter Intern for TrailBlazers.com. He also fist-bumped with Kanye West once. Follow @BlazerBanter on twitter for more Blazers and NBA news.

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