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Watching Damon's Every Move

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Damon Stoudamire has said all the right things about his marijuana use to
the skeptical reporters and the frustrated fans of the Portland Trail Blazers.

However, he still has something to say to those kids with replicas of his
No. 3 jersey tucked in their dresser drawers.

Stoudamire is a man now, a rich, successful professional athlete, a role
model. But not so long ago he was just a Portland kid. Stoudamire knows
very well how cool -- how big in every sense -- the Trail Blazers are to
young boys and girls in this town.

He must know that kids have watched every move he's made -- and copied some
of them. Not just the sweet three-pointers or the twisting drives. But also
the big stash of marijuana found in his home, the pot he tried to carry
through an airport security line and the joint he was smoking on his ride
home from a game in Seattle.

Stoudamire says he has quit using marijuana. He intends to be tested every
week throughout the season. He understands his lucrative career is hanging
in the balance. Yes, there is some reason for skepticism. Yet we take
Stoudamire at his word, and wish him to be drug-free and well.

He's in a personal battle now, but he still has a public responsibility.
The smallest of the Trail Blazers in stature, Stoudamire carries a heavier
burden than the other Trail Blazers. He's the hometown hero. He's the one
the PA announcer introduces as, "From Portland's Wilson High . . ."

One day soon, Damon Stoudamire must start talking to those kids in the No.
3 jerseys about marijuana, and how it has nearly destroyed his career.

Pubdate: Fri., 3 Oct 2003
Source: Oregonian, The (Portland, OR)
Copyright: 2003 The Oregonian
Contact: letters@news.oregonian.com
Website: OregonLive.com