Media Personality Jake McGrady Found Success in TV and Podcasting Through Mr. Portland Persona
When Jake isn’t creating outlandish memes and updating his social media on anything pertaining to the Portland Trail Blazers, he has found success as a television host and the creator and co-host of the 2nd String Show.
The radio show turned podcast, which features fellow Oregon State graduates Grant Ocampo and Geoff Lowe, zeroes in on all things pop culture, sports, music, and more ridiculousness. You can listen here.
Mr. Portland has become a staple on NBA Twitter, and he continues to remind us which team has the best fans. Whether the Blazers are on a roll in the playoffs, or on a terrible losing streak, McGrady/Mr. Portland will be there. Either your wounds will be healed with the power of humor, or your confidence in the team will shoot through the roof.
Jake’s uncensored and entertaining persona was created during his college years. Witty humor from Mr. P captivated dedicated Rip City fans, and it did not take long for Mr. Portland to gain some steam. Fans were able to connect easily with Mr. Portland. McGrady continues to use the account as an outlet for his career in media.
The 2nd String podcast and production of tweets yielded a large and loyal following. McGrady found a new medium to connect with the neverending fandom of the Portland Trail Blazers and expand that into mainstream coverage of sports and pop culture. The show has even partnered with Budweiser to create NBA advertisements as the pod’s first major sponsor.
A lot of people look up to him too.
“The first time I got recognized in public,” McGrady recalls, “was by this little girl, actually. She started telling me about how much she loved the Mr. Portland account, and how she would take screenshots and send them to her friends. It was very surreal for me at the moment.”
His audience ranges from young to old as well.
“I remember one little kid messaged me and said that he got sent to detention because he was listening to a 2nd String podcast in the back of the classroom through his headphones and kept laughing out loud during quiet time.”
But one story, in particular, strikes him the most.
“I got a message from a supporter of the show in another country who told me that they look forward to listening to my podcast and have never missed an episode. Even though we started locally in Portland, we have somehow gained a loyal audience that stretches to different states in the US and several other countries. It’s an honor for me.”
Jake and his co-hosts have gone on to interview the likes of Trail Blazers media personalities and athletes such as Mike Barrett, Lamar Hurd, Meyers Leonard, and Anfernee Simons. As they have expanded past just covering sports, the podcast has also interviewed guests such as Grammy Award winning Portugal. the Man, Grammy nominated rapper/singer iLoveMakonnen, and music industry photographer and social media personality Jake Chamseddine.
As Jake continued to grow as Mr. Portland, it was becoming evident to local members of the media that he had captured the attention of millennial and gen-z sports fans through the power of social media.
One day while he was at work, NBC Sports Northwest reached out to him and wanted him to come in and do a screen-test at the network. This was the start of Jake’s career in television as the co-host of Blazers Outsiders, covering all things Portland, Rip City, and NBA culture.
“At first, it was super bizarre. Any time Monday through Friday there wasn’t a Blazers game, I was on TV for thousands to watch. Everyone in the city is a huge Portland fan, so NBC Sports NW was almost always playing in just about every single sports bar. I would sometimes walk into a restaurant and their screens would be playing reruns of my show. To have people watch me every week was truly a dream come true”
Jake’s reach with Mr. Portland even expanded from one medium to another. In Portland, the number ‘77 is everywhere. The Portland Trail Blazers won their first and only NBA Championship in 1977, so of course, Jake’s clothing brand had to pay tribute. Seven Seven became a staple in Portland and has expanded far beyond the team and city it was named after.
“I now love it when people say things like, [I really love your designs — what does Seven Seven mean?], because that means we’re doing a good job and creating pieces that can be worn by everyone.”
As Jake continues to promote his brand through his personal and Mr. Portland audiences, his clothes have been worn by numerous musicians, collegiate and professional athletes, media personalities and more.
A young Jake would have never believed it was possible, but the brand even caught the attention of NBA superstar and Portland Trail Blazer icon, Damian Lillard. They worked together to release an official collaboration t-shirt collection with Lillard for the release of one of his Dame D.O.L.L.A rap albums. One of their tees can be seen worn by the man himself in his ‘Dre Grant’ music video in his hometown of Oakland.
They have continued to drop collaborative pieces, most recently with Jaydon Grant from the Oregon State Beavers and Gary Payton II of the Golden State Warriors.
Through an undying passion and the power of social media, Jake McGrady turned himself into one of the most entertaining and captivating characters of Rip City. Mr. Portland has transformed himself from a local talent, to an entrepreneur and personality who has a future in mainstream media.