Harry Glickman on the origin of the Portland Trail Blazers

Joey's Journal: The Legacy of Harry Glickman

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Everyone living in Portland at the time remembers where they were when the Trail Blazers won the 1977 NBA Championship.

You remember the rebound coming off the front of the rim, you remember Bill Walton celebrating with fans and you remember Jack Ramsay and his players parading through the streets. However, rarely does anyone stop and think about who made it possible. It was because of the passion of a man named Harry Glickman that Portland came to celebrate their first major sports championship. 

Harry Glickman was born and raised in Portland, and while he always loved playing sports, it was sports journalism that peaked his interest. While in school at the University of Oregon, he worked as the student sports correspondent to both the Oregonian and the Register-Guard newspapers. Upon his graduation, he was set to take a full time job at the Oregonian until the position was filled by a military service member returning from war.  It was this twist of fate that sent him down the path of promoting sports instead of writing about them. 

Watch: More with Harry Glickman

Harry founded a company called Oregon Attractions which brought professional boxing, the Harlem Globetrotters and NFL preseason football to Portland. It was through his work promoting preseason football that he developed a relationship with future NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle. Harry lobbied Pete to get an expansion franchise but after a county bond measure to build a stadium failed, so did the chances of landing a team.

With the NFL out of the picture, Harry turned his sights to hockey and brought Portland the WHL's Buckaroos.  The Buckaroos won eight league championships in 13 years and set attendance records for the Western Hockey League. It was because of this support that the NBA thought a franchise would thrive in Portland. After many years of trying, Harry finally brought a major professional sports franchise to the Rose City. 

Harry would serve as team president from the teams inception in 1970 until his retirement in 1987 when he was rewarded the title of President-emeritus to honor his lifetime of dedication to the team and the city of Portland. 

Extended interview: Harry Glickman

© 2017 KGW-TV


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