The Portland Trail Blazers were established in 1970 in Portland, Oregon. They played their first home game ever against Cleveland on Oct. 16, 1970 at Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The team originated as a result of the NBA expansion. Portland was granted an NBA franchise on February 24, 1970. The executive vice president of the club held a contest where fans could enter a team name for the chance to not only name the new team, but also to receive two season tickets for the first year. The winner of this contest was Blake Byrne, a general sales manager of the television station KPTV. However, Byrne wasn’t the only one to enter the name “Trail Blazers” – it was entered by a total of 172 people, and his name was chosen at random as the winner of the ticket contest.
As we are aware today, the franchise kept the name, but when the “Trail Blazers” name was announced in front of 11,035 fans during a regular season NBA game, the crowd booed. Over time, the team began to thrive and even brought home a national championship title in the first seven years. This made the fans forget all about the fact that they didn’t quite love the name at first, and the Trail Blazers have been beloved by the people of Portland ever since.
Historic Seasons and Team Legends
The national championship came in 1977 with significant help from Maurice Lucas and Bill Walton. Walton had been with the Trail Blazers since 1974, but Lucas, a power forward, had been acquired by the Kentucky Colonels that winning season. Together, Lucas and Walton put up an impressive number of points during the playoffs, leading the Trail Blazers to their first national championship. The Trail Blazers reached the NBA Finals again in 1990 and 1992. They lost in 1990 to the Detroit Pistons and to the Chicago Bulls in ’92.
With one of the league’s youngest head coaches, Nate McMillan, and a team full of rookies, the Trail Blazers plummeted in 2005-06. Portland had their second worst record of 21-61 (tied with their 1972-73 season) since ending with a record of 18-64 in 1972. As McMillan developed the younger team, the Trail Blazers hit another high point in 2009 when they found themselves back in the playoffs. The Trail Blazers ended the 2008-09 season with a record of 54-28, but lost the NBA Western Conference in the first round against the Houston Rockets. Power forward LaMarcus Aldridge and shooting guard Brandon Roy dominated that season, averaging a combined total of 40.7 points per game.
Today, the top players to watch are Damian Lillard, who was drafted to Portland in 2012, and C.J. McCollum, who was drafted to Portland the following year. The point guard and shooting guard are together currently averaging nearly 50 points per game.
The Portland Trail Blazers Logo
A valid argument could be made that the Trail Blazers logo isn’t quite like the other logos in the NBA. If you’ve never had any connection with the Trail Blazers, you may not even know what the logo is exactly. Well, for all of you waiting with bated breath to know, we’ve got the answer. The logo is a pinwheel, but not just any pinwheel. There’s a deep meaning behind the logo, and it’s actually pretty cool.
The five lines on either side of the graphic represent five offensive players and five defensive players coming together to compete in the game of basketball. The curved lines represent the movement and speed of the individuals on the court. The graphic genius who came up with this concept is the cousin of the Trail Blazers founder and first general manager, Harry Glickman. Frank Glickman was a graphic designer in Boston, and when Harry needed a logo for his new team, he gave Frank a call.
The concept of the logo really hasn’t changed. The team has just added and taken away different wording to vary it throughout the years. The original logo between 1970 and 1990 had five red pinwheel lines and five black pinwheel lines, with “Portland” above the logo and “Trail Blazers” below it. In 1990, the Trail Blazers went with a more dominant and clean look. They placed “Blazers” to the right of the pinwheel in large, bold letters. They kept this logo until 2002. Between 2002 and 2004, the Trail Blazers changed their logo twice.
The first time, the team changed the five black lines to white, to accompany the five red lines, and placed “Blazers” beneath the pinwheel. The second time, the team changed the white lines to silver and added a silver rhombus with a black fill between the words “Portland” at the top and “Blazers” at the bottom. The current logo is similar but with a darker silver and the word “Trail” added above “Blazers.”
The logo is unique and hopefully stays around for a long time. There’s nothing like it in the NBA today. If you’re a Trail Blazers fan and can’t wait to rock that logo at their next game, Fanatics has all the best gear ready. Don’t be left out when you head to the Moda Center!