The Portland Trail Blazers may have a new arena name and a new 100-point promotion, but one familiar chant from a bygone era lingered as the Blazers defeated the Spurs 115-105 in their home-opener. When LaMarcus Aldridge drilled a 15-foot baseline jumper for the Trail Blazers’ 100th point of the night, fans were on their feet, chanting, “CHA-LU-PA! CHA-LU-PA!” The McDonalds Egg McMuffins they would receive instead left a bad taste in the mouths of longtime Blazer fans Jake Wightman and Eddy Ponce.
The Trail Blazers discontinued their free Chalupa promotion with Taco Bell back on September 5th, after 14 years of feeding the fans and their appetite for victory. Wightman and Ponce captured the sentiment shared by many outraged onlookers in their video response, “I’ma Bring My Own Chalupa,” slamming the new “Sausage Egg McNothings” deal as pathetic.
Upon announcement, the new promotion was met with heavy criticism from nostalgic fans who were concerned about a budding hypocrisy within the Blazers organization. How could a team whose biggest sponsor is a health care provider downgrade their fast food promotion to a breakfast style heart attack? The Blazers’ partnership with the world’s most notorious junk food juggernaut brought a lot of heat to team president Chris McGowan who has been pushing for corporate change.
Fans were encouraged to chant “MICK-E-DEES! MICK-E-DEES!” as the 100th Blazer point approached last night, but, whether as an act of rebellion, unawareness, or habit, the Moda Center was filled with the old chalupa roar. Although the McDonalds contract cannot be un-inked, it would seem that Blazer fans will keep the Taco Bell tradition alive in one way or another; be it by chanting, protesting, or simply bringing their own chalupas.