Reader Tyler Ormsby went to Vegas to watch a few Summer League games and came back with a great story and a little something else. He was kind enough to write in and share. We pick up with Tyler and his three friends walking back from the Thomas & Mack Center after the Blazers had dispatched the Chicago Bulls. It was hot as hell—in the neighborhood of 110 degrees.
Take it away, Tyler:
Over all, the mood was jolly for about the first quarter mile. Then our bottled water began to run low and heat up, the sun refused to set and the desert heat mixed with the asphalt’s absorption of it made it all but unbearable outside. Paul joked to us all that he would never again say “It can’t be the bad” to scenes in movies with people wandering the desert. Brandon and I laughed through dry mouths, Jeff just poured what was left of his water on his head, it seemed we all agreed. We were about half way back when another car honked at us, we were all likely going to ignore this one, as we were certain this one was not a Blazer fan, we were right about that as it turned out.
The car pulled up right beside us, I can only speak for myself but I’m pretty sure all of our hearts jumped a bit thinking someone was going to give us a ride. The window rolled down and a hand holding fabric we walked up to the window we didn’t focus on the face at first, we were just trying to figure out what was going on. A voice that seemed nearly disembodied told us “Hey guys I saw your Blazer gear and just wanted to let you know that we love that you guys come down here to see us and I wanted to say thank you, it means a lot.”
We all looked at each other seemingly all with the same thought, “Is that, I think it is….it’s Dante Cunningham.”
Jeff and I were in the best position to grab what it was that Dante was holding our for us, Jeff however was wiping either the disbelief or bottled water out of his eyes so I nabbed it first. After I grabbed (the jersey), Dante looked at us all and said, “That’s the one I wore through all the games thanks again guys.”
We mumble a conglomeration of different fan remarks, “Thanks so much,” “good to meet you,” “great game.” So forth. Dante shock all our hands, waved and said, “see you all in Portland,” And drove off
We were all in shock “Did that just happen?” was the common expression on our faces.
On the walk back we agreed on a few common things, 1. Dante was awesome 2. Far and away the best part of he trip just happened 3. Our friends were going to be sooo jealous 4. Seriously, Dante is awesome and he just earned four life long fans.
Brandon and I spoke later about what this meant to us as fans, he appreciated us, by no means did he have to stop but he wanted to tell the driver of the car to pull over to us so he could show his appreciation. I thought a lot about it later we may have gone above and beyond the call of duty as NBA fans, we did after all go on a pilgrimage that few fans do and cheered whole heartedly for our team. We walked in full Blazer gear to and from two games and were, once again in Vegas, just for them. But we loved every minute of it we got to watch our boys play, we had a great time and really little sacrifice was made by us. But I cannot help but be impressed by the action of one of our Blazer. By no means did Mr. Cunningham need to stop, or give his jersey to a group of guys in their mid twenties to say thanks. He did though, and he understood that by simply giving us his jersey he made our summers. He seemed to understand that because we love the game and this team he gets to play for a living. That small token of his appreciation meant the world to us. And he did it with no cameras or news crews around.