Portland Trailblazers Team History
Portland sports promoter Harry Glickman had sought in creating a basketball team in the city as soon as the Memorial Coliseum was opened in 1960, but the NBA board of governors only granted him the rights to a franchise on February 6, 1970. To raise the money for the $3.7 million admission tax, Glickman associated himself to real estate magnates Bob Schmertz of New Jersey, Larry Weinberg of Los Angeles and Herman Sarkowsky of Seattle. Two weeks later, on February 24, team management held a contest to select the team’s name and received more than 10,000 entries. The most popular choice was “Pioneers,” but that name was excluded from consideration as it was already used by sports teams at Portland’s Lewis and Clark College. The name “Trail Blazers” received 172 entries, and was ultimately selected by the judging panel, being revealed on March 13 in the halftime of a SuperSonics game at the Memorial Coliseum. Derived from the trail blazing activity by explorers making paths through forests, Glickman considered a name that could “reflect both the ruggedness of the Pacific Northwest and the start of a major league era in our state.” Despite initial mixed response, the Trail Blazers name, often shortened to just “Blazers”, became popular in Oregon.
NBA Finals – 1977
The 1977 NBA World Championship Series was the championship round of the 1976 – 1977 NBA season. The Portland Trail Blazers of the Western Conference played against the Philadelphia 76ers of the Eastern Conference, with the 76ers holding home-court advantage. Their four regular season meetings had been split evenly, 2-2, with neither side winning away from home. The series was played under a best-of-seven format, so the first team to win four games would win the series and become the league champions.
The Trail Blazers landed the No. 2 pick in the NBA draft. After the Houston Rockets selected Drexler’s college teammate Hakeem Olajuwon, known at that time as Akeem Olajuwon, at No. 1, the Trail Blazers selected Kentucky center Sam Bowie. Drafting third, the Chicago Bulls selected Michael Jordan. Many sportswriters and analysts have criticized the selection of the injury-plagued Bowie over Jordan as the worst draft pick in the history of American professional sports.
Allen purchased the Portland Trail Blazers NBA team in 1988 from California real estate developer Larry Weinberg for $70 million. He was instrumental in the development and funding of the Moda Center (previously known as the Rose Garden), the arena where the Blazers play. He purchased the arena on April 2, 2007, and stated that this was a major milestone and a positive step for the franchise. Since taking over the franchise, the Allen-owned Trail Blazers have reached the playoffs 19 times including the NBA Finals in 1990 and 1992 (As of July 2015) According to Forbes, the Blazers were valued at $940 million in 2015 and ranked No. 12 out of 30 NBA teams.
Starting on April 5, 1977 of that year, the team began a sellout streak of 814 straight games the second longest in American major professional sports history which did not end until 1995, after the team moved into a larger facility. In the fall of 1995, the team left the Memorial Coliseum for a new home, the 20,000-seat Rose Garden Arena.
Moda Center, formerly known as the Rose Garden, is the primary indoor sports arena in Portland, Oregon, United States. It is suitable for large indoor events of all sorts, including basketball, ice hockey, rodeos, circuses, conventions, ice shows, concerts, and dramatic productions. The arena has a capacity of 19,441 spectators when configured for basketball, fewer for other events. The arena is equipped with state-of-the-art acoustics and other amenities.
It is owned by Vulcan Inc., a holding company owned by Paul Allen, and is currently managed by Anschutz Entertainment Group and AEG Live. The primary tenant is the Portland Trail Blazers NBA franchise, also owned by Allen.
The Portland Trail Blazers, commonly known as the Blazers, are an American professional basketball team based in Portland, Oregon. The Trail Blazers compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member club of the league’s Western Conference Northwest Division. The team played its home games in the Memorial Coliseum before moving to Moda Center in 1995 (called the Rose Garden until 2013). The franchise entered the league as an expansion team in 1970, and has enjoyed a strong following: from 1977 through 1995, the team sold out 814 consecutive home games, the longest such streak in American major professional sports at the time, and only since surpassed by the Boston Red Sox. The Trail Blazers have been the only NBA team based in the bi-national Pacific Northwest, after the Vancouver Grizzlies relocated to Memphis and became the Memphis Grizzlies in 2001, and the Seattle SuperSonics relocated to Oklahoma City and became the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2008.
1970 – Present / National Basketball Association
1970 – Present / Portland Trailblazers
Trailblazers – When Portland was granted an NBA franchise on February 24, 1970. The executive vice president of the club held a contest where fans could enter a team name for the chance to not only name the new team, but also to receive two season tickets for the first year. The winner of this contest was Blake Byrne, a general sales manager of the television station KPTV. However, Byrne wasn’t the only one to enter the name “Trail Blazers” – it was entered by a total of 172 people, and his name was chosen at random as the winner of the ticket contest.
Of the more than 10,000 entries, Pioneers was the most popular, but was ruled out because nearby Lewis & Clark College was already using the nickname. Another popular entry was Trail Blazers, whose logo is supposed to represent five players on one team playing against five players from another team. Portland was the end of the Oregon trail, a trial which brought millions of people into the American west. A Trailblazer was someone who opened up the route for the wagons to travel upon. This name was usually a former fur trapper who knew the area well.
NBA Championships 1
2013 – Present / Moda Center
1995 – 2012 / Rose Garden
1970 – 1994 / Veterans Memorial Coliseum
2018 – Present / Estate of Paul Allen
1988 – 2018 / Paul Allen
1975 – 1988 / Larry Weinberg
1972 – 1975 / Herman Sarkowsky & Larry Weinberg
1970 – 1972 / Herman Sarkowsky, Robert Schmertz, and Larry Weinberg
1 Larry Weinberg
13 Dave Twardzik
14 Lionel Hollins
15 Larry Steele
20 Maurice Lucas
22 Clyde Drexler
30 Bob Gross
30 Terry Porter
32 Bill Walton
36 Lloyd Neal
45 Geoff Petrie
77 Jack Ramsay
– Bill Schonely
2002 – Present / Blaze the Trail Cat
*Blue is this team’s history