Monday is International Lefthanders Day. So here’s a list of the best left-handed players to ever wear the Portland Trail Blazers uniform.
The calendar is filled with all sorts of interesting holidays and observances.
Some of them are less obvious than others — but just as fun.
For example, Monday is International Lefthanders Day.
So — in honor of that very special observance — we’ve decided to compile a list of the best left-handed Portland Trail Blazers players ever.
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Let’s get going.
Blazers No. 4 All-Time Lefty: Lenny Wilkens
Hall-of-Famer Lenny Wilkens only played one season in Portland: 1974-1975. That was the final season as a player for the then-37-year-old dynamo, who averaged 6.5 points and 3.6 assists over 65 games that year.
But Wilkens, a nine-time all-star during his illustrious 15-season career, did more than just play. During his tenure in Portland, he was player-coach in ’74-’75 and head coach the following season.
His full bio is as impressive as they come. Check it out here.
Blazers No. 3 All-Time Lefty: Damon Stoudamire
Damon Stoudamire was a total homeboy: born in Portland and a graduate of Wilson High School. He was also an excellent left-handed baller.
Stoudamire is now the head men’s basketball coach at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California.
Blazers No. 2 All-Time Lefty: Zach Randolph
Portland drafted Zach Randolph out of Michigan State University with the 19th overall pick in the 2001 NBA Draft. He played six seasons in Portland, averaging 16 points and 7.7 rebounds during that stretch.
Zach continues to perform at a high level, and he now plays for the Sacramento Kings.
Blazers No. 1 All-Time Lefty: Lionel Hollins
Lionel “The L-Train” Hollins is a legend in Portland, having been a part of the team’s lone NBA title in 1977. In five seasons with the Trail Blazers, he averaged 13.9 points, 4.4 assists and 1.9 steals per game.
Hollins, whom the Blazers chose with the sixth overall pick in the 1975 NBA Draft, made the All-Rookie team. He also made the NBA’s All-Defensive team twice. And the lefty L-Train made the All-Star team as a Blazer in 1978.
Last but not least, the Blazers retired his No. 14 jersey in 2007.
Hollins also had a long coaching career. In fact, he coached No. 2 on our lefties list when they were both in Memphis.
So that’s it, Rip City. Anybody we’re forgetting?
While you think of that, take a moment to ponder a ridiculous feat of derring-do by a lefty who wasn’t actually a lefty. We’re talking about the time right-handed Larry Bird decided to play left-handed against Portland.
Portland was reeling when Valentine’s Day 1986 arrived. They were in the midst of losing 12 in a row (and 15 of 16). Playing left-handed (or was it backhanded), Bird scored 47 points — while tallying 14 rebounds and 11 assists. Still, it took overtime for Boston to overcome the Blazers.
When asked why he played with his left hand, Bird reportedly said, “I’m saving my right hand for the Lakers,” whom Boston would beat two nights later.
We feel ya, Larry.