They're big, brawny and not afraid to go bruisin' with other really big men. They scream intimidation and are commissioned with the task of controlling the most brutal combat location on a basketball court, also known as the key.
They are the forwards of the NBA—muscle-bound warriors who go to go toe-to-toe and sometimes brow-to-brow with their opponents.
Here we take a look at the top 10 best players in Portland Trail Blazers history to ever play the position we call forward.
Though Buck Williams barely missed out on the top 10 list for Blazers forwards (it was heartbreaking not to include him), he deserves mentioning.
Williams was the backbone for the 1992 Trail Blazers team that went all the way to the NBA Finals before losing 4-2 to the Chicago Bulls. A terrific baller and an even better gentleman with exceptional values, Buck Williams will never be forgotten and was most definitely one of the best forwards to ever wear a Trail Blazers uniform.
“Mercy, mercy, Jerome Kersey!” yelled Blazers radio announcer Bill Schonely as Kersey concluded a thunderous rim-rocking slam dunk that brought the crowd to their feet.
Kersey's ability to run the court and finish on fast breaks with a wild, get-out-of-the-way-or-be-dropped-to-the-floor finish emblazoned Kersey among the top 10 best Blazers forwards of all time.
Brian Grant, a fan favorite in Portland, might remind us a bit of Trail Blazers legend Maurice Lucas. Grant's no-nonsense style of play and willingness to give up his body to corral a rebound or bang an opponent out of position led to his rank among the Blazers' all-time best forwards at No. 9.
Clifford Robinson, a surprise sleeper, leaped from near nothingness to All-Star status by showcasing his athleticism and shooting ability while playing with Portland in the 1990s. His tall, slender physique allowed him to be a quick counterpart to many slower and bulkier forwards playing against him.
LaMarcus Aldridge, the only currently active Portland player to make our list, has no direction to go but up. Emerging as a game-changing force during the 2010-11 season, Aldridge stepped up to the plate as the team leader and go-to guy when fellow All-Star Brandon Roy was sidelined with an injury. Adridge's high-flying game put fear in the hearts of many opponents on a nightly basis.
Kiki Vandeweghe, a Trail Blazer for four seasons in the 1980s, was not a big-time rebounder, shot blocker or passer, nor did he excel in making the quick steal. So what did Vandeweghe do to deserve the top 10 nod? Scoring.
Flat and simply put, Vandeweghe was one of, if not the best scoring forward to ever don a Blazers jersey, averaging nearly 27 points per game during the 1886-87 season.
Though Rasheed Wallace's talent and skill were commonly overshadowed by his bad boy image and on-the-court tantrums, Wallace still deserves to be placed in the top five of our countdown. His versatility—the ability to shoot the ball from the outside, rebound and play big down low—gave him key advantages over other less agile forwards in the NBA.
Zach Randolph, or “Z-Bo” as he was called, was a low post scorer and big-time rebounder. Though he had little shooting ability, and was ineffective outside 15 feet from the basket, Randolph's consistent 20-point, 10-rebound performances and his knack for playing big and tough under the hoop helped rank him at No. 4 in our countdown of the Trail Blazers' 10 best forwards of all time.
Playing for Portland long after his peak years in Chicago, Scottie Pippen's “do-all” game earned him the right to be the third best forward in Blazers history. Pippen's ability to score, rebound, pass the ball, steal and play tough defense made him a valuable addition the the Trail Blazers team that made it all the way to the Western Conference Finals in 2000.
“The Enforcer” graces our top 10 list at No. 2 because of his tenacious rebounding ability and hard-nosed, in-your-face style of play. A key contributor on the 1977 Trail Blazers' championship team, Lucas literally fought his way into the No. 2 position and is revered as one of the most memorable and beloved Blazers of all time.
Sidney Wicks, the second overall selection in the 1971 NBA draft, was an instant star in the NBA and for the Portland Trail Blazers, averaging over 24 points and 11 rebounds per game his rookie season. His 6'8", 225-pound frame allowed him to not only play power forward but also stretch into the center role.
In only five years in Portland, Wicks' superior numbers enabled him to be honored as the best forward in Portland Trail Blazers history.