Crawford Feeling Good About Move

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HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Having spent his entire adult life in the NBA, Jamal Crawford learned a long time ago that looking back never provides the same sensation as the promise of what’s to come.

That’s why he was all smiles about his firs trip back to Philips Arena since signing with Portland last month as a free agent, and not as worried about whoever will be standing in front of him when the lights come on tonight.

When the Hawks and Trail Blazers square off (8 p.m. ET, ESPN), Crawford’s mind won’t be on what he did in two celebrated years with the Hawks. It won’t be on the awards won or the playoff experiences he gained. It will be about what could be with his new team … and breaking out of the slump he’s been in (he’s averaging 10.8 points on 35 percent shooting from the floor and 33 percent from beyond the 3-point line in the Blazers’ last five games).

“It feels good to be back here and in a familiar environment,” he said. “But it also feels good to be wearing this Blazers jersey and to have moved on to a great situation.”

This time a month ago Crawford wasn’t sure where he’d be playing. He wasn’t sure there’d even be a season, having waited out the lockout as a free agent and then getting shoved into an abbreviated offseason flurry of activity that took place basically over the course of a week.

“It was tough,” Crawford said. “It was almost like a tornado, when you’re caught up in something that’s bigger than anything, and how compressed everything was. At first, you weren’t even sure we were going to have a season and then when we did, you couldn’t do this or that. It was just a weird situation. And that’s why, moving forward, things are going to be a lot more stable.”

Stable is good in Crawford’s eyes. At 31 and ankle-deep into a 12-year NBA career that has included stops at Chicago, New York, Oakland and Atlanta, being in Portland is the closest he’s been to home since he left for Michigan after a stellar prep career at Seattle’s Ranier Beach High School.

“It’s unbelievable,” said Crawford, the NBA’s Sixth-Man of the Year in his first season with the Hawks. “On off days I can go home and come back [to Portland]. It’s like a 20-minute flight or a two-hour drive. And the fan support … it’s similar to what they have in Oklahoma City in that we’re the major thing going on in town. They have 166 straight sellouts. It’s unbelievable. And the fact that I have family able to come to games and stuff is priceless.”

The only thing missing for Crawford is having one of his best friends, former Blazers All-Star and fellow Seattle native Brandon Roy, rolling with him. Roy retired before this season for medical reasons related to his ailing knees. The plan was to play together for the first time as pros and abuse opposing teams in ways that only they could.

But even though it never happened, Crawford said their bond remains as strong as ever.

“As friends, it added a different perspective as far as him being able to tell me about the team, the franchise and the city,” said Crawford, who along with Jason Terry and Michael Dickerson jump started Seattle’s current NBA renaissance, with includes 16 players from the Emerald City suiting up around the league.

“It’s almost like we’ve reversed roles and he’s playing the big brother this time,” Crawford said of his relationship with Roy. ” But it’s cool. We still talk every day and hang out together. We worked out together all summer and stuff and did what we always do back home.”

Home … Crawford seems like he might have finally found one.

9 Comments

  1. heyjude says:

    Crawford is wonderful! I think we finally have a winning team this year. The sad part is not having Brandon Roy on the team. Then the blazers would be unstoppable! GO BLAZERS!!

  2. Trojan says:

    Sad that B-Roy had to retire! It would have been a sick combo having him and Jamal in the backcourt ripping it apart.

  3. Tim says:

    Crawford knows he wants to be a Hawk…..The Hawks are much better than the Blazers….Even with T Mack and Al Horford out right now. The Blazers are losing tonight!

  4. BlazerFanChris says:

    Welcome home to Portland Jamal. We look forward to seeing you help Portland make into the 2nd round of the playoffs and beyond over the coming years. Keep up the great work!

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  6. Blackmamba24 says:

    Lived in Portland is one of the best city’s in AMERICA. Their fanbase is crazy over there…I wish nothing more than the best from the Blazers, its funny cus they have alot of talented players they just need to stay healthy and I believe they’ll make alot of noise this year in the West.

  7. Roy says:

    It’s a shame Brandon Roy and Oden had to stop playing (yea don’t expect Oden to come back he’s done). Portland could have been a championship team for sure! They had everything, the hard-working coach, the go-to-guy, the beasts in the block, the defense, the role players. Oh well they are still pretty good and I’ll be a fan til the death of me!

  8. ItsSnowingInSeattleWTF says:

    I had the privilege to meet this guy in person, when he was doing some Christmas shopping here in Seattle, and I’ve got to say this guy is one of the most down to earth and chill guys (who makes millions of dollars) I’ve ever met. I told my coworkers that he was an NBA player, and they didn’t believe me, and he jokingly even said he wasn’t. I really like the fact that he’s playing for the Trail Blazers, and he’s a great lift off the bench for them. I hope to see the Trail Blazers go far in the playoffs this season, especially with the talent and chemistry they have going for them. Wish Brandon was still with them though; would have made a nasty duo guard combo!

  9. b-ballers says:

    Crawford, Roy, Wallace, Aldridge, and Oden With Batum as the 6th man, The untimate Portland powerhouse, that sadly never happened. Go Blazers, make them all believers