30 August 2009
Some of you may remember the story of Ramon Ramos – the Portland Trail Blazers rookie from 1989 who was seriously injured in a tragic car accident. Others have no idea.
His story is being featured today over at HOOPSWORLD in my recent series, “NBA Flashback” (The Ramos Accident).
The truth is, I’ve been sitting on this story for almost a year now - minus a couple failed interview attempts. I wanted to go back to that accident in ’89 and thanks to both Dwight Jaynes and Kerry Eggers, they took me there. The two worked the Blazers beat for the Oregonian during “Blazermania” but jogging their memories on Ramos wasn’t exactly easy.
It was nearly 20-years ago after all.
Curiosity pushed me into inquiring what it was like for a couple of beat writers to cover such a tragic event in a young players’ life.
“Here is a guy who was at his embryonic stage of his career and had it taken from him in a near fatal swoop,” said Eggers, who now writes for the Portland Tribune.
Five years after the accident, Eggers made a trip to Puerto Rico for a follow-up story on Ramon. Ramos was working out and shooting around some, but it was clear his equilibrium was still off. It was sad to see.
“He was at least going to be a guy who was going to be a rotation player for them. He was a lot like Mark Bryant (former Blazer who also played with Ramos at Seton Hall), very similar in many ways. Neither of them was going to be a great player, but Bryant lasted a long time in this league. I think Ramon had a chance of being the same kind of player.”
Jaynes remembers getting the call early that morning about the accident – someone from the team he guessed. Back then, Jaynes – who now produces Dwight Jaynes.com – was going to bed late and sleeping in after living life on the beat.
“I got a call in the morning and anytime the phone rings in the morning it is always bad news. At least it was for me at that time,” Jaynes started.
“I got a call and it was chilling and they said he was not doing well. They weren’t even sure if he was going to live. Almost immediately we knew his basketball career was over. It was just a question if he was ever going to walk again. Obviously there was a lot of damage done.”
This season, the Portland Trail Blazers celebrate their 40-year anniversary in the NBA and the season will have its share of memorable ceremonies with former players present to honor the franchise. But even heartache has a place in history.
It would be amazing if the organization would reach out to Ramon Ramos to bring him back to Portland even for one night when they praise the ’89-90 season.
It’s a part of team history everyone should remember.
pic via: soloblast