Where We Live: Harry Glickman’s pro sports legacy

Sports

Glickman founded the Portland Trail Blazers in 1970

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Known as the “father of Oregon professional sports,” Harry Glickman founded the Portland Trail Blazers in 1970 and can still be seen on the sidelines — nearly 50 years later.

Harry Glickman founded the Portland Trail Blazers in 1970. (Courtesy: Portland Trail Blazers)

Glickman graduated from Lincoln High School before heading to the University of Oregon.

He’s also a World War II veteran.

Harry Glickman during WWII with a portrait of Hitler. (Courtesy of Harry Glickman)

The visionary — who loves Rip City to this day — is now 95 and confined to a wheelchair because of a stroke years ago but he still makes time to go to games with his wife Joanne.

“You know, I still enjoy seeing that ball go through the hoop,” Glickman said.

Glickman brought big-time basketball to Portland.

Harry Glickman also established the Portland Buckaroos. (Courtesy: Portland Trail Blazers)

“I’m very proud of that,” he said. “It’s been a good team and a good franchise. One of the best in our league, and one of the best in any league — in any professional sport.”

In the 1950s, Glickman started a company called “Oregon Attractions,” which promoted everything from pre-season NFL games to ice shows and boxing. But Glickman wanted a team of his own.

“So we went into hockey and got the Portland Buckaroos to establish what I think are one of the only two dynasties in the history of sports in Oregon,” Glickman said. “They were great.”

NBA commissioner Walter Kennedy signs the expansion draft, May 11, 1970. With Kennedy, from left: Harry Glickman, vice president of the Portland Trail Blazers; Carl Scheer, president of the Buffalo Braves, and Nick Mileti. (AP Photo/Jacob Harris)

When voters passed the bond to build Veterans Memorial Coliseum in 1954, Glickman set his sights on pro basketball.

It took years and $3.8 million.

Harry Glickman (R) in 1970 as he announces the first-ever Blazer pick, Geoff Petrie (L). (Courtesy: Portland Trail Blazers)

Glickman barely made the deadline even with help from investors including Larry Weinberg, who would eventually become the Blazers majority owner.

“It’s a long story but I’ll make it short,” Glickman said. “We got a team in the NBA. That was in 1970.”

Glickman became the general manager of the Blazers in 1970. That same year, the first-ever Blazer pick — Geoff Petrie — became Co-Rookie of the Year.

Glickman was the team’s general manager until he retired in 1987.

Fans congratulate Trail Blazers’ Bill Walton after he and his teammates defeated the Philadelphia 76ers, 109-107, to win the NBA crown in Portland, Ore., June 5, 1977. (AP Photo)

When asked what’s been his favorite Blazer team, Glickman said, “Well, I’d say the team that won it all in 1977, led by Bill Walton and that group.”

Glickman’s office is adorned with numerous awards including the Jewish Sports Hall of Fame and the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame.

He received the John W. Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award from the NBA Hall of Fame in September. His son Marshall and daughter Jennifer accepted the accolade for him since he couldn’t travel to Springfield, Massachusetts.

But his legacy is so much more and certainly one to be proud of.

“I like to think I had a reputation for integrity, and I think I did,” Glickman said. “I hope I was loyal to the people around me that worked with me.”

Harry Glickman is the Blazers President Emeritus.

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