There’s a memorial service pending for Mata, and friends placed lilies, carnations and a lone Virgin of Guadalupe candle on the sidewalk near where Mata took his final breath. But I’m wondering how much, or if any, of this could have been avoided had the Trail Blazers not waited so long to figure out who forward Zach Randolph was. And I’m hopeful owner Paul Allen and his front office don’t abandon their good -guy philosophy in the face of more adversity this season. Moffett was a member of the “Hoop Family,” Randolph’s unsavory band of friends of acquaintances.
Ruben Mata Rumors
I never met Ruben Mata. But I now know he was 32 years old, a kind man, and that he had three children — Joshua (13 years old), Martin (10) and Isiah (4). And I know those kids lost their father when he was shot to death in the early hours of New Year’s Day. Police will tell you that Mata, who worked as a bouncer at Club 915, was shot in the street outside the club and died at the hospital. And they’ll tell you that terrible things such as these happen when you mix alcohol, a gun and foolishness. And so, the first homicide of 2011 passed in this city with police busy building a case, and the mayor declaring it tragic and all of this happened without anyone thinking a bit about the Trail Blazers. But Blazers basketball philosophy is all I can think about now that I’ve learned who allegedly shot Mata. Police identified Kevin Charles Moffett as the shooter. He’s 31. Moffett was arrested, booked into Multnomah County Jail, and he quickly hired a prominent local attorney.
Remember when Sebastian Telfair “accidentally” brought his firearm on that Blazers road trip several years ago? It was whispered among teammates and the coaching staff that it wasn’t a mistake at all. That Telfair was carrying because someone in the “Hoop Family” had threatened him. Telfair never confirmed that, but the incident illustrates the distrust many of the Blazers had toward the Hoop Family.
Moffett ran with Randolph’s entourage. He attended Blazers games, along with other members of Randolph’s crew, which wore the necklaces, and sometimes drag-raced, and rode ATV’s and shot guns on the five-acre parcel the star basketball player owned. Neighbors celebrated when the Blazers traded Randolph in 2007. They figured the shooting would stop, and that we were all lucky that nobody had been killed. Maybe that was true until that bullet was fired and Mata lay on the corner of Southwest 2nd Ave. and Taylor Street dying.