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Thugs "R" Us: Looking Back at the Infamous Portland Jail Blazers Era

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Thugs

Things are really looking good for the Portland Trail Blazers. Led by youngsters Brandon Roy, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Greg Oden, the Blazers are truly one of the most talented teams in the NBA.

Most people would agree that this up-and-coming ball club could win a championship or two in the near future.

But things in Portland haven't always been so peachy.

A few years ago, the darkest period in franchise history existed known as the "Jail Blazers" era. Those were the days when the roster was filled with players who constantly made headlines for the wrong reasons.   

The turmoil began in April 2001 when Shawn Kemp ended his first season with the team by checking into a drug rehabilitation center for cocaine abuse.

In May 2002, Zach Randolph was cited for underage drinking in his hometown of Marion, Indiana.

November 2002 was a month in which three controversial Blazers' players were in the news.

Rasheed Wallace and Damon Stoudamire were cited for misdemeanor marijuana possession after their car was stopped on the way home from a game in Seattle. Both players agreed to attend drug counseling and stay out of legal trouble for a certain amount of time to have charges dropped against them.

In addition, Ruben Patterson was arrested on felony domestic abuse charges on his wife. The charges were later dropped.

Four months later, rookie forward Qyntel Woods was cited for speeding, driving without insurance or a driver's license, and of course, marijuana possession.

In April 2003, Randolph punched Patterson in the face during practice breaking his eye socket. Ouch, that must have been a pretty hard punch. Maybe Patterson's wife had paid Randolph to do it. Just kidding.

In July 2003, Stoudamire was back in trouble with the law. The former Rookie of the Year was arrested at an Arizona airport after he was caught with an ounce of marijuana wrapped in aluminum foil.

Man, that's the third use of the word, "marijuana" in this article.

Anyway, during the 2004-05 season, Woods pleaded guilty to misdemeanor animal abuse. I guess Michael Vick wasn't the first athlete linked to dog fighting.

And head coach Maurice Cheeks was later fired after being cussed out by both Bonzi Wells (in 2003) and Darius Miles (in 2005).

I heard that Miles actually called Cheeks the "N" word. That's pretty interesting since Miles is African American as well. I just don't get it.

In closing, I left out several events that occurred during that forgettable era simply because I didn't want this article to be 30 pages long.

My advice to all NBA general managers: Don't build a team with a bunch of dysfunctional players.

It will never work.

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