Blazers kick off season in Coos Bay

COOS BAY, Ore. -- As a part of every Portland Trail Blazers home game, fans pass the game ball from the 300 level down to center court.

Now, as the season is about to begin, the team wanted to expand that tradition statewide.

It all got started at the Coos Bay boardwalk.

Through the Rip City Relay, the Blazers hope to get the whole state excited for the new season.

Dewayne Hankins is the vice president of marketing, and says they want to expand the team's fan base. "Over the last couple of years we've really focused in on Portland, but we think it's important to focus in on cities outside of Portland as well."

Jerome Kersey, a former Blazers forward, says they want to reach out to communities all over the state. "It's a community thing to get people involved and feel, and be a part of the Blazers and what they're doing."

The ball will be walked, jogged and passed through several stops along the coast. "It's going to be going 219 miles, starts here in Coos Bay and obviously, ends in Portland," Hankins said.

Kersey says he is excited about the season. "A lot of big things going on with the Trail Blazers and all their partners, and this is just a way to kick it off and get it going for the, hopefully, upcoming great season."

The game ball will end it's journey at center court of the Moda Center on Saturday as the Blazers tip off their season against the San Antonio Spurs.