Ryan Alexander-Tanner

We all just root for laundry. That's the adage trotted out to show how ridiculous it is to invest emotionally in sports teams. It's supposed to inflate the absurdity of how deeply we care about genetic lottery winners with insane competitive streaks, motivated by millions of dollars, personal pride and the desire to fuck Instagram models—and yes, sometimes beat the opposing team and feed back some of the naked jingoistic passion we feed to them from bleachers and barstools.

We root for laundry, they say cynically, but you know, they're right in so many ways. The smug, superhuman villainy of Michael Jordan's shrug stabbed sharply into our souls because his mastery of ball beyond even his own understanding reached one of its many crescendos while he was wearing a Chicago Bulls jersey, and Clyde Drexler was wearing one of ours. Swap Sam Bowie for Jordan and he's defying physics and odds with our collective joy riding hip pocket. Spin the wheel of fate again and maybe he's riding for New York or Atlanta or the fucking San Antonio fucking Spurs.

Karl Malone is probably a pretty bad person and John Stockton is probably a pretty decent person and we hated them both because they were Utah Jazz. We rooted (kinda?) for Zach Randolph when he was a Blazer and rooted against him (kinda) when he was a Grizzly. Let's face it, we root for laundry, and the corporeal forms that haunt and animate that laundry like dunking, dribbling versions of the ghost-armies from Angela Lansbury's Bedknobs and Broomsticks.

We root for laundry, so what do we do with nine years of LaMarcus Aldridge? Now that he's rejected us and fled our city and shrugged off the wild dreams we wrapped around his neck, what do we do? What do we do now that he's scurried back to fucking Texas? Fucking gas-guzzling, gun-toting, abortion-restricting, god-fearing Texas.

We were told we didn't appreciate LaMarcus Aldridge enough, but that's not what it sounded like every time he took the floor. AND LOOK, by virtue of splitting time with Brandon Roy, Greg Oden's potential, and Damian Lillard, LaMarcus was never the most exciting player in the red, black, silver, and white... but he was steady and important and exhilarating, he was the barge from which the rest of the Blazers launched their fireworks, and he was the Amen Break of basketball. (I AM SO SORRY FOR COMPARING BASKETBALL TO MUSIC.)

He's a Spur now, and that's different (BORING-ASS) laundry. We'll recover, of course. We're Blazer fans. We've been through worse. We've gone hoarse and half-mad rooting for Bill Walton and Clyde Drexler and Rasheed Wallace only to see them peel off their laundry and go win championships with other teams. They're going to keep doing that, by the way—because to them it really is just laundry. They're just basketball players. We're the Blazers.