Portland Trail Blazers, commonly known as the Blazers, are an American professional basketball team based in Portland, Oregon. They play in the Northwest Division of the Western Conference of the National Basketball Association (NBA). The Trail Blazers originally played their home games in the Memorial Coliseum, before moving to the Rose Garden Arena in 1995. Based in Portland throughout its existence, the franchise entered the league in 1970, and is the only major league franchise in Oregon until 2011 when the Portland Timbers will join the MLS. The franchise has also enjoyed a strong following; from 1977 through 1995, the team sold out 814 consecutive home games, the longest such streak in American professional sports.
About Portland Trail Blazers
Portland Trail Blazers has advanced to the NBA Finals three times, winning the NBA Championship once, in 1977. The other NBA Finals appearances were in 1990 and 1992. The team has qualified for the playoffs in 26 seasons of their 39-season existence, including a streak of 21 straight appearances from 1983 through 2003. Four Hall of Fame players have played for the Trail Blazers (Lenny Wilkens, Bill Walton, Clyde Drexler, and Drazen Petrovic) as well as one player (Scottie Pippen) who was recognized as one of the league’s 50 greatest but who is not yet eligible for the Hall. Bill Walton is the franchise’s most decorated player; he was the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player in 1977, and the regular season MVP the following year. Three Blazer rookies (Geoff Petrie, Sidney Wicks, and Brandon Roy) have won the NBA Rookie of the Year award. Two Hall of Fame coaches, Lenny Wilkens and Jack Ramsay, have patrolled the sidelines for the Blazers, and two others, Mike Schuler and Mike Dunleavy, have won the NBA Coach of the Year award with the team.
Portland Trail Blazers team is ultimately owned by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen; ownership of the Trail Blazers is via a series of holding companies which Allen owns. Vulcan Inc. is a private corporation which has Allen as chairman and sole shareholder. A subsidiary of Vulcan, Vulcan Sports and Entertainment (VSE), manages Allen’s sports-related properties, including the Trail Blazers, the Seattle Seahawks NFL team, the Seattle Sounders MLS team, and the Rose Garden. The president of VSE is Tod Leiweke, who also briefly served as the president of the Trail Blazers.
The Trail Blazers as a corporate entity are owned by VSE. Allen serves as the team’s chairman, and his longtime associate Bert Kolde is vice-chairman. The current president of the Trail Blazers is Larry Miller. The post of chief operating officer is currently vacant; the most recent COO of the team was Mike Golub, who resigned in July 2008 to take a more enhanced role with VSE. The team’s general manager is Kevin Pritchard. Before Allen purchased the team in 1988, the Trail Blazers were owned by a group of investors headed by Larry Weinberg.
Trail Blazers play their home games in the Rose Garden, a multipurpose arena which is located in Portland’s Rose Quarter, northeast of downtown. The Rose Garden, which opened in 1995, can seat a total of 19,980 spectators for basketball games; capacity increases to 20,580 with standing room. Like the Trail Blazers, the Rose Garden is owned by Paul Allen through subsidiary Vulcan Sports and Entertainment, and the arena is managed by Global Spectrum. During a two-year period between 2005 and 2007, the arena was owned by a consortium of creditors who financed its construction after the Oregon Arena Corporation, a now-defunct holding company owned by Allen, filed for bankruptcy in 2004.