I’ve got an Oregon shirt tucked away in my suitcase for Phoenix. And if the Ducks beat North Carolina on Saturday, I’m wearing it Monday.
Is it bad karma? Maybe. Morally objectionable? Sure. But does it make me a traitor?
Blasphemous as it may sound, I was born and bred in green and yellow. My first Facebook profile picture was an “O” and my ringtone was the fight song. My favorite jersey was a bright yellow, two-sizes-too-big replica of No. 96 — Haloti Ngata’s framed photo still hangs in my bedroom — and my debut column was titled “LaMichael James for LaHeisman.” I still sleep with an Oregon pillow at home, and I still hate Cam Newton for crushing my spirits in 2011 (sorry, Panthers fans).
The same year I graduated from Edison Elementary — four blocks away from the University of Oregon — my mom sat beside Ducks star Aaron Brooks in the front row of a lecture class. The future first-rounder was the man about campus, hitting buzzer beaters when Dillon Brooks was still a preteen. But Tajuan Porter was my idol.
The first-year guard had no more than a foot on 10-year-old me, but he could shoot the rock unlike any player in Pac-12 history. Much like Justin Jackson this year, Porter set the school record for 3-pointers in a season (110) and earned all-conference honors. And much like Chapel Hill legend Luke Maye, Porter was a local hero. He and Brooks piloted a Ducks squad that won 29 games, tying for second most in school history, and reached just their second Elite Eight in 47 years.