Fans treated to a special experience at Trail Blazers Fan Fest

Chris Burkhardt
NBC Sports Northwest

The Trail Blazers are celebrating their 50th season this year, and they started it off by kicking it old school and hosting Fan Fest inside Veterans Memorial Coliseum (VMC). 

Home of the Trail Blazers from 1970 to 1995, the old digs hold a lot of memories for Trail Blazers fans. But for players like Damian Lillard, it was a chance to make new memories. It was quite the experience. 

"It was cool," said Lillard. "This building is a little bit brighter than the Moda, it seems like... the echo in the gym was a little bit different. The energy just felt more lively, it was more intimate. People were on top of you. Right away when I came out it felt like college or something."

That intimate atmosphere is what drew more than 7,000 fans to VMC on a Sunday afternoon to enjoy Fan Fest. Tickets to the event were free, and seating was on a first-come, first-serve basis. Meaning if you were one of the first in line you could make your way down to a free courtside seat. Fans were in line outside the Coliseum hours before the doors opened, hoping to get closer to the action than ever before. 

Fans John and Jessica were lucky enough to get seats in the first row behind the Blazers' bench. 

Said John, "I expect to hear all the players talking trash to each other, which is what I've always wanted to hear." Of course, all the trash talk was friendly, but it was still an awesome experience for John and Jessica.

Superfan Lonnie was in the same boat, closer to the action than he had ever been before. "I haven't sat this close before. This is awesome," said Lonnie. "I sat in the fifth row over at the Moda Center, but I haven't been in the first row behind the Blazers bench. I expect to hear a lot of cool things!"

Steven and Angelo were also lucky enough to grab front-row seats, something they have done before, but an experience that never disappoints. Said Steven, "It's just super cool being this close to the court. It's the only sport that being this close actually means something. You get to see all the action up close."

Finally, there was Grant, who said he usually sits in the 300 level, so it was a nice change of pace to be behind the bench. "Now I'm at the point where if I yell something they can actually hear me," said Grant. "That could either be really good or really bad. But this is only a scrimmage so I'm going to keep it PG." 

Fans still have another chance to witness their Blazers in action inside the hallowed halls of VMC when they host the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday, Oct 8th, in the first game of the preseason. Tipoff is set for 7:30pm. 

Fans treated to a special experience at Trail Blazers Fan Fest originally appeared on NBC Sports Northwest

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