You are on page 1of 3

#RipCity: A 1970s Phrase Made Social

Sydney Ison
WR 303

Just over 47 years ago, the Portland Trail Blazers were in the depths of their inaugural

season in the NBA. Former announcer Bill Schonely, and long time member of the Trail Blazers

family started his journey alongside Portland, calling each game with gusto. During this first sea-

son, the Trail Blazers pulled off an astonishing 22 point comeback against the still rival from just

down I-5, the Los Angeles Lakers. The Blazers had pulled within three points, and guard Jim

Barnett hit a wild shot from well beyond half court (Sterling 2015). Right then, the team had a

phrase that stuck. Stonily exclaimed Rip City, alright! and the rest is history.

Click here to watch a short clip on the legacy of Bill Schonely and Rip City

Naturally, since social media, much less the internet had not yet been invented during the

time period in which this phrase was coined, this exclamation was not immediately a hashtag.

What is was, however, was a term fans far and wide began using to refer to their home team. In

an interview with Schonely, he remarked Year after year, the phrase became synonymous with

not only the broadcast, but the team (Sterling 2015). Now, having fast forwarded to an age filled

with digital media and technology, Rip City is still alive and well. #RipCity was first used on

November 8th, 2009, when the Portland Trail Blazers Twitter account retweeted a post by

@CRomerDome, saying Dante Cunningham checks in to make his NBA debut with Portland

leading the T-Wolves 99-74. #ripcity (trailblazers 2009). Hashtags were first used on Twitter in

August of 2007, but did not catch on until a few years later, really ramping up around the turn of

the decade (Chira 2015). The Trail Blazers Twitter account joined in in using the hashtag them-
selves not long after, posting Once again, the @brandonroy_7 account is a fake, this is the last

pub I'll give it. I rec. following the other players. #ripcity (trailblazers 2011). This depicts a

more casual use of the hashtag that has sense become a way of life. As someone who has fol-

lowed this account since 2011, the evolution of this hashtag and its usage has been most interest-

ing. Based off of both examples provided, this phrase was used largely simply to add a tag and

group posts regarding the team into one location where others on the internet to come to find all

things Blazers all in one place. While to an extent, this is still true today, the idea of a hashtag has

morphed quite a bit. #RipCity is now used as a proclamation of loyalty, support and love for not

only this team, but for the city and community surrounding them. Just recently, the NBA tweeted

out what is now the most popular tweet with this hashtag since it was first used. On April 8th,

2017, the account tweeted simply 59. #ripcity (nba 2017). This post was in response to Port-

lands star player Damian Lillard putting up a monster 59 points, tying a franchise record and

helping the team solidify their spot in the playoffs which began on Sunday. The tweet got over

2,100 retweets and well over 5,100 favorites. In addition to being used by official NBA and team

accounts, it is also used by current and former players. On April 16th, during the first playoff

game, former Blazer great Terry Porter tweeted Watching young fella go to work in playoffs!!

Trying to beat my record!! #RipCity (terryporter30 2017).

As this hashtag has developed, it has become something that is added to nearly every

tweet about the team, almost as an end cap to the post. Without it, this team would have a very

different look and feel. In the end, I could not think of a more appropriate way to end than in the

words of the great Bill Schonely, who said, Who knew those two words could mean so much to

so many. (Schonely).
Sources Cited

Chira, Adrian. "Where was hashtag(#) used for the first time?." Quora, 24 Aug. 2015, https://
www.quora.com/Where-was-hashtag-used-for-the-first-time. Accessed 17 Apr. 2017.

MacKay, David. "Portland Trail Blazers: Origin of the term "Rip City"." Rip City Project, 8 Sept.
2014, ripcityproject.com/2014/09/08/why-portland-is-called-rip-city-portland-trail-blazers/. Ac-
cessed 13 Apr. 2017.

NBA (nba). 59. #ripcity. 8 Apr 2017, 9:27PM. Tweet.

Porter, Terry (terryporter30). Watching young fella go to work in playoffs!! Trying to beat my
record!! #RipCity 16 Apr 2017, 1:44PM. Tweet.

Sterling, Ryan A. "SI Profiles the Origin of "Rip City"." Blazer's Edge, 4 Nov. 2015, www.blaz-
ersedge.com/2015/11/4/9670404/rip-city-portland-trail-blazers-origin. Accessed 13 Apr. 2017.

Trail Blazers, Portland (trailblazers). RT @CRomerDome: Dante Cunningham checks in to


make his NBA debut with Portland leading the T-Wolves 99-74. #ripcity. 8 Nov 2009, 9:04PM.
Tweet.

Trail Blazers, Portland (trailblazers). Once again, the @brandonroy_7 account is a fake, this is
the last pub I'll give it. I rec following the other players. #ripcity. 22 Jan 2011, 7:52PM. Tweet.