Hollins glad to finally get his due
- kerry eggers
- Portland Tribune - Sports
He never made an issue of it, but Lionel Hollins wondered why so many members of the 1977 NBA champion Trail Blazers had their numbers retired by the club and he hadn't.
On April 18, at Portland's season finale against Golden State, Hollins' No. 14 will go up in the rafters at the Rose Garden.
'I'm excited, thrilled and honored to finally have my number go up there,' says Hollins, 53, an assistant coach with the Memphis Grizzlies. 'It's unbelievable.
'I wasn't hopeful about it as time moved further away from the era in which we played, and other eras came in and had success. It's one of the highlights of my career. I can't wait for the night.'
The 6-3 guard wore No. 14 his first four seasons in Portland. For 20 games in 1979-80, his final half-season before being traded to Philadelphia, Hollins wore No. 9.
'I honestly can't recall why I switched,' he says. 'I know I wore No. 33 in college (at Arizona State), but Danny Anderson had it when I came to the Blazers and wouldn't give it up. Oscar Robertson had been a player I'd admired, and he wore No. 14, so I decided on that.'
Hollins is the sixth player from the '77 team to be so honored, joining Bill Walton, Maurice Lucas, Dave Twardzik and reserves Larry Steele and Lloyd Neal, along with coach Jack Ramsay and broadcaster Bill Schonely. The only starter not yet recognized is forward Bobby Gross.
• Another honor for Jamelle McMillan, the senior guard at Seattle's O'Dea High and the son of Trail Blazer coach Nate McMillan: The junior McMillan, bound for Arizona State, is the Gatorade Washington state player of the year.
'I'm really proud of him,' Nate McMillan said. 'There are some great kids playing ball in that state. He's had a really good year and helped them to their third straight championship (in four years). It's funny, though; (the Gatorade honor) doesn't mean a lot to him. He's sometimes embarrassed by the individual awards.'
• McMillan may lose the senior member of his coaching staff. Dean Demopolous is a finalist for the head coaching job at the University of Hawaii.
• You might have seen Clyde Drexler interviewed as he sat in the Staples Center with 'Dancing With the Stars' partner Elena Grinenko, watching Sunday's L.A. Lakers-Phoenix Suns game.
'I'm truly enjoying it,' Drexler said of his participation on the ABC show. 'If I wasn't, you know I'd be on the golf course.'
Asked for a prediction, Grinenko said she and Drexler were 'definitely going to the finals.' If it happens, it will be because of the fan vote, not the judges' selections. Drexler has handled his assignment ably - better than most of us would - but 'the Glide' doesn't describe the ex-Blazer great's performance on the dance floor.