SO YOU JUST MOVED to Portland, and you like sports? Good news, because Portland really only has three professional teams! Yes, that's not a lot, but it has some of the most passionate fans in the entire country—and isn't that what's really important? (I'm gonna assume you just lowered your newspaper and said, "Hell yeah, dude, speak on it.") If you wanted options you would've moved to goddamn Phoenix or fucking Ohio or whatever. But naw, you moved to Portland because you wanted passion (or maybe you got a job here).
The first squadron we gotta talk about is the Portland Thorns FC. The Thorns are Portland's professional women's soccer team. They were founded in 2012, won a championship in 2013, and did pretty okay last year. They didn't make the playoffs this time around, but really, who gives a fuck? Because the Portland Thorns employ the real muthafuckin' G of the century, Alex Morgan.
Morgan is notable for winning a gold medal and a World Cup. She's arguably the most famous American soccer player, and easily one of the 10 coolest people in America who regularly rocks a ponytail. Also the Thorns have a pretty great logo—like it should be sewn on your middle school backpack.
Next, let's go ahead and get the Portland Timbers out of the way. The Timbers are Portland's dude soccer team and some of their fans are the most obnoxious people you'll ever meet in your entire life. They're evangelical sports fans in the worst way. They're simultaneously insecure that soccer isn't popular enough, and massively condescending to people who don't properly appreciate the game. It's like if Rush fans all had the same favorite sports team. BUT ENOUGH TIME SPENT ON THEM, because the Timbers also have some of the coolest, nicest, most informative fans on the planet. Timbers games are events, and not in the convoluted "let's just pump the latest Black Eyed Peas song into the arena and shoot T-shirts at people" way of most professional sports. Fans sing and chant and wear fun scarves and mock opponents and drink and construct giant signs and hate Seattle. ALL THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS. You could go to a Timbers game, never look at the field, and still have a good time. Also, I have no idea if they're good or not, and I flatly refuse to Google it.
I'm saving the best for last. The Portland Trail Blazers are Portland's NBA basketball team. They're our first, our last, our everything. In an era when the fractures of class are dividing, pushing, and separating our city into an archipelago of upscale condos and barely functioning apartments, we have the Blazers in common. If your day doesn't begin until after your second cappuccino, it's easy to forget that the MAX goes all the way to Gresham—but go to a Blazers game and you'll be reminded.
The Blazers have one championship to their name. It was a team led by Bill Walton and Maurice Lucas that was supposed to be the start of a hard-running, slick-passing dynasty, which was, unfortunately, doomed by injury. From Brandon Roy to Greg Oden to Sam Bowie, injury has been one of the main narratives in the team's history. Luckily, consistent success has been the other. The Blazers mostly make the playoffs and sometimes they HELLA make the playoffs, with incredibly deep runs led by Rasheed Wallace and (not my Vydas, not your Vydas) Arvydas Sabonis in the early 2000s and Clyde Drexler and Terry Porter in the early 1990s.
Next year PROBABLY isn't going to be a great year for the team, but that isn't important—what's important is you're here, now. So get on board. To plagiarize myself: In Portland sometimes all we have in common are wet socks and the Trail Blazers. And that's enough.
More Newcomers' Guide Articles:
Welcome to Portland!
Rain! Rain! Rain! Rain!
A Portlander's Pronunciation Guide
A Newcomers' Guide to Making Friends
Portland Free Stuff
Getting Around Town
Finding a Place to Live
How to Apologize for Moving to Portland
Bicycle Death Traps
Portland History 101
Portland Myth Bustin'!
Portland Tourist Traps