Over eight games in the bubble, Gary Trent Jr raised the level of his performance by averaging 16.9 points on 51.6% shooting from the field and 50.7% from beyond the three-point arc! Two and a half decades ago, it was his dad, Gary Trent, who became quite an invaluable part of the late 1990s Portland Trail Blazers rotation.
“My dad means everything in the world to me. Without him, I wouldn’t be where I’m at today in no phase of life. Whether it’s academic, whether it’s basketball talent, he’s taught me everything on and off the court. And without him, I don’t know where I would be. So I’m thankful for him.”Gary Trent Jr., The Undefeated
Coming in as a substitute from the deep Blazers bench, the 6’8″ blue-collar power forward was able to be the spark-plug for the perennial contender with his rebounding and inside presence. Not being intimidated by anyone, even before his rookie season had started, Trent Sr. stated that he thinks he will be a better player than the original Dream Team power forwards – Charles Barkley and Karl Malone!
“I expect to be as good as Karl Malone and Charles Barkley someday.”Gary Trent Sr., Washington Post
In his second game as a pro, Shaq of the MAC got a chance to face The Mailman, on November 5th, 1995 in Portland, Oregon. As the game went on, their confrontation never really happened. But, Trent seized the most of his playing time off the bench and scored 12 points on 6-8 shooting!
Playing on the Blazers 2nd unit alongside fellow rookies Arvydas Sabonis and Randolph Childress, Trent was able to exploit his size and explosiveness around the basket, and connect on a couple of shots from outside, just contrary to the scouting report before the game.
Surprisingly, the Blazers rookie wasn’t afraid to talk some trash with the much bigger opponents! He did so after collecting a missed shot from teammate Harvey Grant, and went up strong for a two-handed dunk over the Jazz 7’2″ rookie center Greg Ostertag!
After two and a half productive seasons in Oregon Trent, bounced around the league for the next five and half seasons performing for the Toronto Raptors, Dallas Mavericks, and Minnesota Timberwolves. That experience has proven to be valuable for his son, Trent Jr.
“Every year he had one-year or two-year contracts, where he had to earn it every year, so he had to bring it every day in practice. He had to bring it every game. I remember him being a hard worker. Just being a big bruiser.”Gary Trent Jr., The Undefeated
Trent Sr.’s best season came with the 1998-99 Dallas Mavericks when the 24-year old registered career-highs in the categories of points per game (16.0), rebounds per game (7.8) and assists per game (1.7). Over his eight-year NBA career, Trent Sr. appeared in 506 regular-season games while posting averages of 8.6 points (on 50.1% from the field shooting efficiency), 4.5 boards, and 1.0 assists per game.
If he continues his bubble performances in the playoffs and next year, his son Trent Jr. is looking at a bright NBA future after his three-year minimum contract is up at the end of next season. With his father’s legacy in mind, one thing is certain – teams don’t have to worry about Trent Jr.’s effort level every night. He won’t take any opportunity for granted.