Nate McMillan was fired recently by the Portland Trail Blazers, following a 42-point trouncing by the Knicks. Coaches gets fired frequently. It’s part of life in the NBA. So that was the last I expected to hear about — or from — McMillan in Portland.
On Sunday, I was startled to see a full-page ad on page C3 of The Oregonian, titled “Thank you, Portland!” and paid
for by McMillan. It had a photo of McMillan wearing a Blazers shirt and holding a basketball. Below the photo was a three-paragraph, heartfelt letter from the departed coach. I read every gracious word of it.
“… you greeted me warmly from the moment I arrived and showed me and my family love, respect and support. It meant the world to us and always will. … There isn’t an environment in the NBA that can compare to that of the Rose Garden. The energy and passion that is present there each possession for 44 games a season is electrifying. You, the fans, bring it every game.”
McMillan went on to thank everyone in the Blazers organization — from owner Paul Allen and President Larry Miller, to the players and the rest of the staff. He then concluded:
“I am truly humbled and honored to have served as Head Coach of the Portland Trail Blazers for the past seven years.
“Go Portland, Go Oregon and Go Trail Blazers.
What a class act!