Closing out the first week of Trail Blazers Training Camp, fans around Rip City will get their first glimpse at the 2017-18 squad at Wells Fargo Fan Fest Sunday afternoon at Moda Center. The free event features Q&A sessions with players, an opportunity to meet the Trail Blazers broadcast team and is capped-off with an intra-squad scrimmage on the Moda Center court.
After six days of Training Camp, most of which consisted of multiple practices and weight training sessions, Fan Fest provides a welcome break from the preseason grind.
“It’s always fun to get out there, first time on the floor at the Moda,” point guard Damian Lillard said following Friday’s practice. “Get out in front of the fans and basically do what we’ve been doing in here, but do it in front of a crowd and have more fun with it.”
Entering his sixth season with the Trail Blazers after being drafted sixth overall by Portland in 2012, Lillard enjoys seeing fans in such a casual atmosphere at Fan Fest that fans don’t usually encounter during the regular season.
“A lot of people that might sit in the nosebleeds or have seats higher up, it’s a better chance that they might be on the floor,” Lillard said. “We’re just roaming around and it’s a laid-back environment. It’s more up-close-and-personal. It’s not like a game.
“t’s like they came to practice and we just hoopin’ in front of them, like pick-up, that’s pretty cool.”
For center Jusuf Nurkić, Sunday will be his first Fan Fest experience. The Bosnian big man quickly became a fan favorite in Rip City after joining the team in February from Denver to help the Trail Blazers clinch a postseason berth.
“I can’t wait, it’s been too long,” Nurkić said. “From the home games, I just want to see the gym packed, sold-out games and see all the fans in our arena again.”
He continued: “Here [in practice], we’re talking and we can be loud, but I can’t wait to see the ‘Nurk Fever’ stuff and ‘Dame Time’ … Just to run and have fun in front of fans.”
Wells Fargo Fan Fest begins at 1 pm on Sunday afternoon, with doors opening at noon. Parking at the Rose Quarter is free until 1pm, and will increase after due to the Portland Winterhawks game at Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The scrimmage is set to be broadcast live on CSNNW and the Trail Blazers official Facebook page.