APRIL. 18, 2011; Portland, OR, USA; Portland Trail Blazers president Larry Miller (left), owner Paul Allen (center) and Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll look on during the third quarter of the game between the Utah Jazz and the Portland Trail Blazers the game at the Rose Garden. Mandatory Credit: Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports

Paul Allen Auctions Painting for $43.8 Million

Blazers owner, Paul Allen, sold a 1953 Barnett Newman for how much?! For some perspective, $44 million is more than LaMarcus Aldridge, Nicolas Batum, Wesley Matthews, J.J. Hickson, Damian Lillard, Joel Freeland, and Eric Maynor were paid for this season combined. Barnett Newman’s “Onement VI” features a solid blue canvas, separated by a thin white line; that’s it.

I’d say claiming more prodigious artistic talent would be tooting my own horn, but truly anyone with a paint supply and the good sense to find a canvas could do about the same. I know, I know, everyone experiences art differently, the eye of the beholder, blah blah blah, but come on. There are better ways to spend that money; like feeding the hungry, clothing the poor, or paying sports writers.

I guess, if nothing else, this serves as a reminder of how rich Paul Allen really is. While the Hansen-Ballmer group has just upped the ante to $625 million in the battle for the Sacramento Kings, Allen has just sold a painting from his collection for 1/14th of that entire amount. If he wanted to, he could buy the Kings outright, himself. One of the perks of being worth $15 billion, and I’m not even speaking hyperbolically.

Let’s look at a few things that painting could finance:

  • The first 4 years of Kobe Bryant’s first contract extension ($42,755,000)
  • All 6 seasons Chris Paul played for New Orleans ($43,355,202)
  • All 6 seasons Brandon Roy played for Portland ($42,112,700)
  • 5 years of NBA Commissioner, David Stern’s, salary (EST $40,000,000)
  • 75% of the current NBA team salary cap ($58,044,000)

Take your pick. Any way you slice it, that’s a lot of scratch. If I ever find myself weeks from death, I’m going to dabble in abstract expressionism, because it looks like one hell of a way to capitalize on croaking. A yellow canvas should be bold enough for my heirs to rake in $80 million, no? Accounting for inflation and some imaginary math, we’ll just round up to 100.

At any rate, Paul Allen has added another bundle of cash to his cartoonishly Scrooge-esque money pile, and I’m not complaining. It’s relieving to see the man who holds the Blazers’ fate in his hands doing well in other business ventures, ludicrous as they may be. But if the enormity of his wealth still leads you to question your life choices, just try to relax. Maybe take in some art?

@davidmackaypdx | @ripcityproject | [email protected]

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