PORTLAND, Ore. -- While Terry Porter is Portland's
better-known No. 30, Bobby Gross is fondly remembered among Trail
Blazers fans for his contribution to the team's only NBA
Two days after the Blazers retired Porter's No. 30, the team
similarly honored Gross, a 6-foot-6 small forward who spent seven
of his eight NBA seasons with Portland.
Gross was humbled by the gesture, calling it the most incredible
honor he could have ever hoped for.
"I can't think of anything bigger," Gross said.
Gross was the 25th overall pick by the Trail Blazers in the 1975
draft. He averaged 9.2 points, 4.5 rebounds and three assists with
But it was his performance in the 1976-77 post season that set
On a team that included Bill Walton, Lionel Hollins, Maurice
Lucas and Dave Twardzik, Gross averaged 14.1 points, 5.9 rebounds
and 1.7 steals over 19 playoff games.
In the championships series against the Philadelphia 76ers,
Gross was not only effective in stopping Julius Erving, he took off
on a scoring tear that would give the Blazers a victory in Game 5.
With the series knotted at 2-2, Gross had 25 points, and was
10-of-13 from the field, in Portland's pivotal 110-104 win in
"Without him, we couldn't have done it," Lucas said.
Walton wrote a tribute to Gross for the Blazers' Web site.
"He made it happen! It was everything about him. It was his
selflessness. It was his skill. It was his mental acuity. It was
his sense of spacing. It was his hands. It was his touch. It was
his brain. It was his personality," Walton wrote. "And it was the
joy with which he competed that was so infectious.
"And it was never about him. It was always about the team
winning, always about the greater goal of the group. It was just
Teammates Lucas and Lloyd Neal attended the jersey ceremony
Thursday night at the half of the Blazers' game against the Phoenix
As his jersey was lofted to the rafters of the Rose Garden,
Gross was given a standing ovation.
He said his fondest memory is of the fans that met the Blazers
when they arriving back in Portland at 2:30 a.m. after having won
the NBA title.
"It still touches me," he said. Those are the things that I
remember -- you fans," he said.
Portland is just the third NBA team to retire a jersey in honor
of multiple players. New York has retired No. 15 for Dick McGuire
and Earl Monroe, while Boston has retired No. 18 for Dave Cowens
and Jim Loscutoff.