PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -Brand-new Trail Blazers center Greg Oden quickly got a feel for life in Portland - it rained.
The 7-foot center out of Ohio State, wearing a black T-shirt emblazoned with his last name, was introduced Friday to Blazers fans at a lunchtime rally, some 16 hours after the team took him with the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft.
``I'm loving it here, and I'm going to have a smile on my face for a long time to come,'' Oden said.
A few thousand fans chanted Oden's name when he arrived at downtown's Pioneer Courthouse Square on the city's light-rail system. Oden acknowledged the cheers by bowing to the crowd.
``This is crazier than New York,'' said Oden, accompanied to Portland by his parents, brother and girlfriend.
After taking Oden with the top pick, the Blazers made headlines on draft night by sending forward Zach Randolph, Fred Jones and Dan Dickau to the New York Knicks for Channing Frye and Steve Francis.
General manager Kevin Pritchard envisioned a Blazers front court with Oden, LaMarcus Aldridge and Frye.
``It's going to be a great ride,'' Pritchard said at the rally.
The infusion of young talent has Portland fans excited. Even before the Blazers selected Oden, the team had sold more than 3,500 season tickets. Some 6,000 fans went to the Rose Garden on draft night and rushed the court in celebration when Oden's name was announced.
Nicknamed the Jail Blazers years ago because of player misconduct, the team began a transformation last year when the Blazers got Aldridge, Brandon Roy and Sergio Rodriguez on a busy draft day.
Roy went on to be the NBA's Rookie of the Year. Might Oden be next?
``Rip City is back,'' said Pritchard, referring to the term coined when the Blazers won the national championship in 1977.

Top NBA Public Bets

NBA Top Stories

Thumbnail Tim Duncan retires The San Antonio Spurs lost their franchise player on Monday, as Tim Duncan elected to retire after an amazing 19-year...
Thumbnail Rockets give Harden an extension The Houston Rockets locked up their star player for years to come, announcing an extension with James Harden on...
Thumbnail OKC's title odds plummet without Durant Following the announcement that Kevin Durant will be signing with the Golden State Warriors, the Oklahoma City Thunder's NBA title...
Thumbnail Durant heading to Golden State The shoe finally dropped in the Kevin Durant sweepstakes, as he has elected to sign with the Golden State Warriors for next...
Thumbnail Warriors now 2/3 to win title with Durant The Golden State Warriors were already favored to win the 2017 NBA Finals championship, but their odds improved even more after...
More inNBA Articles  
Advertisement

NBA Team Pages