Portland Trail Blazers founder Harry Glickman dies at age 96

Bill Walton, Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
Bill Walton, Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images) /

Portland Trail Blazers founder and Oregon sports and entertainment entrepreneur Harry Glickman leaves behind a tremendous legacy.

The Portland Trail Blazers community is devastated by the death of the legendary founder Harry Glickman. The spearhead behind bringing professional sports to Oregon and the architect of the 1977 world champion team truly made his mark.

A local Portlander, he graduated from Lincoln High School in 1941 with the hopes of pursuing a career in journalism. He was admitted to the University of Oregon and quickly became the campus’ correspondent to the Oregonian.

Glickman took a break from college to enlist in the American army during World War II. He served in the 12th armoured division for a total of three years before returning to Eugene.

He then graduated from the school in 1948 and began his illustrious career in the sporting world. His first significant step was establishing a sports and entertainment company by the name of Oregon attractions.

The company started off by hosting boxing matches and entertainment events throughout the Oregon area. Glickman’s success branched into hosting NFL preseason games at Multnomah Stadium.

After that, he began to transition into a more basketball focus where he built the Memorial Coliseum and used it to host the Harlem Globetrotters as well as NBA all-star games.

His greatest success was winning an NBA expansion franchise in 1970 without any investor support. He was effectively able to strong-arm the Portland Trail Blazers into existence and put Oregon on the sporting map.

After a slow start to the franchise’s history, he tasted championship glory on June 4th, 1977. For that, our fanbase is eternally grateful as we continue our pursuit for that second lucrative trophy.

Outside of basketball, he established a hockey team in the WHL, the Portland Buckaroos. During the Buckaroos existence, they won three WHL championships and competed in six total championship series.

Glickman also pursued establishing baseball and soccer in the area by financing a $38 million renovation to Providence Park. The venue still is relevant to the city today, hosting the MLS franchise, the Portland Timbers.

He eventually sold the Trail Blazers to Paul Allen in1988 but still was an outside advisor to the Trail Blazers past that point.

His exceptional career has taken him far, as his name is in the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Following his death, Blazers star and NBA champion Bill Walton has this to say to the Oregon sports legend.

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“Thank you Harry, for your vision, passion, enthusiasm, work ethic, sacrifice, discipline, kindness, patience, and honor. Our lives are the result of your dreams and your willingness to commit yourself to fulfilling them. We are eternally grateful for what you have done. We will do our best to carry on in your honor… you are the Portland Trail Blazers. We are so lucky to be a small part of your glorious and all-encompassing spirit.”

Harry Glickman is a Trail Blazers legend by every stretch imaginable, and he will be sorely missed.