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Harry Glickman, Who Brought Basketball to Oregon, Dies at 96

Harry Glickman, who based the Portland Trail Blazers of the National Basketball Association and was broadly thought of the daddy {of professional} sports activities in Oregon, died on Wednesday in Portland. He was 96.

His loss of life, at an assisted dwelling middle, was confirmed by his son, Marshall.

Mr. Glickman held many titles for the Trail Blazers: government vice chairman from 1970 to 1987, normal supervisor from 1976 to 1981, president from 1987 to 1994. He was additionally a tireless promoter and a civic-minded entrepreneur in an period that predated the rise of billion-dollar sports activities franchises.

“He was just one of those pure guys who loves the state and the city he came from,” Chris McGowan, the Trail Blazers’ president, mentioned in a telephone interview, “and he did everything he could to enrich it.”

Mr. Glickman helped form the Trail Blazers into one of many N.B.A.’s nice success tales. Like most enlargement groups, they bought off to a sluggish begin. But, led by Bill Walton at middle, they received a championship of their seventh season, and so they steadily made the playoffs and persistently drew capability crowds for a few years.

Mr. Glickman had lengthy since retired from his front-office place when Mr. McGowan took cost of the crew in 2012, however he nonetheless valued the group and town he known as house. He sought out Mr. McGowan, who was relocating from Los Angeles, after his introductory information convention and prolonged an invite: How about they take a tour of Portland the following day?

“He came and got me, and we literally spent three hours driving around Portland,” Mr. McGowan recalled. “He showed me all the landmarks, where the Blazers had their championship parade, the basketball courts where Bill Walton spent time. I’ll never forget it.”

Harry Glickman was born in Portland on May 13, 1924, and raised there by his mom, Bessie, who labored within the garment business, after she and his father, Sam, divorced.

He enrolled on the University of Oregon to review journalism, however left to spend three years with the Seventh Army’s 12th Armored Division throughout World War II. He was elevated to the rank of workers sergeant whereas serving in Europe, and was awarded a Bronze Star.

After returning house, Mr. Glickman accomplished his diploma and hoped to put in writing about sports activities for one in every of Portland’s two each day newspapers. But, unable to land a job straight away, he gravitated to the enterprise of selling sports activities. He staged boxing occasions and lured the Harlem Globetrotters and the National Football League to Portland for exhibitions.

He additionally promoted live shows, although he soured on the expertise of working with high-profile entertainers after Judy Garland canceled a few tour stops on the final minute.

“She made a sports fan out of me,” Mr. Glickman as soon as mentioned, in line with The Oregonian.

Mr. Glickman was the president of an organization known as Oregon Sports Attractions and, in 1960, based a minor-league hockey crew, the Portland Buckaroos, which went on to win three league championships in entrance of adoring crowds.

Convinced that Portland was a viable house for big-time sports activities, he sought to land one of many N.F.L.’s enlargement franchises within the mid-1960s. He acquired assurances from his pal Pete Rozelle, then the league’s commissioner, that it could occur if town had been to approve the development of a 40,000-seat stadium, the Delta Dome. But the proposal fell brief by about 10,000 votes, and the Delta Dome was doomed.

Mr. Glickman was undeterred. As the N.B.A. sought to broaden in 1970, he lined up a number of rich traders to purchase one of many league’s new franchises for $3.7 million.

The Trail Blazers weren’t an instantaneous success. Fewer than 5,000 followers confirmed up on Oct. 16, 1970, for the crew’s first house sport, a 115-112 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers that offered false hope: The Trail Blazers had been one of many worst groups within the league by means of their first 4 seasons of existence.

But Mr. Glickman had a motto, “You win with good people,” and the Trail Blazers ultimately grew right into a winner. Walton joined the crew in 1974 after an All-American profession on the University of California, Los Angeles, and later helped lead the Trail Blazers to the championship, an achievement that Mr. Glickman described as “total, complete ecstasy.” Mr. Glickman’s autography, “Promoter Ain’t a Dirty Word,” was revealed after that season.

The crew continued to be enormously standard, promoting out 814 straight house video games between 1977 and 1995 and successful the Western Conference championship in 1990 and 1992.

Even after Mr. Glickman retired, he remained an lively presence across the group. He was president emeritus till he died.

Before the coronavirus pandemic interrupted the present N.B.A. season, the Trail Blazers had been within the midst of celebrating their 50th anniversary. As a part of the festivities, the crew had organized a sequence of “Decade Nights,” with dinners for invited friends.

Mr. Glickman attended all of them, Mr. McGowan mentioned, visiting with former gamers and colleagues and sharing tales concerning the outdated days.

Marshall Glickman, who spent a number of years as an government with the Trail Blazers, mentioned in an interview that he had visited his father a few week earlier than he died and located him talking on the telephone with Clyde Drexler, one in every of many former gamers who had stored in shut contact.

In addition to his son, Mr. Glickman is survived by his spouse, Joanne (Matin) Glickman; his daughters, Jennifer Glickman-Hett and Lynn Glickman; and three grandchildren.

Last yr, Mr. Glickman acquired the John W. Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award from the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. He can also be a member of the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame and the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame.


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