Portland Trail Blazers
The Portland Trail Blazers are a rarity in the NBA: A team that has kept the same name and location since day one as a team. In the 50 years since the Trail Blazers were established, they’ve clinched a total of six division titles, three conference titles, and one NBA Championship.
It’s time to learn everything there is to know about how the Portland Trail Blazers got to where they are today.
The Beginning Years
When the Memorial Coliseum was built in Portland, Oregon, Harry Glickman was immediately interested. He wanted to bring an NBA franchise to Portland as far back as 1960, but he experienced pushback since many saw Portland as way too far from other current NBA teams. With a $3.7 million price tag, Glickman’s request was finally approved by the NBA in 1970. Rolland Todd was hired as the head coach and player Geoff Petrie joined without hesitation.
In the team’s inaugural season beginning in 1970, they locked down a 29-53 record. It wasn’t until 1974 that the team was finally able to beat its record from its first season back in Portland under the guidance of Lenny Wilkens. The Trail Blazers drafted UCLA standout Bill Walton and the team eventually found itself with a winning record for the first time in franchise history in 1977. The Trail Blazers made it to their first playoffs with the help of new coach Jack Ramsey.
The 1977 season brought a ton of luck for the newly-formed Trail Blazers in the form of an NBA Championship. The team was able to surpass the Los Angeles Lakers, home to future Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabarr, and prove victorious over the 76ers in the NBA Finals. The early 1980s brought players like Clyde Drexler to the roster and Mike Schuler into the head coach role. This team thrived offensively, but they failed miserably in terms of defense.
The team was eventually sold to one of the co-owners of Microsoft, Paul Allen, in 1988 in a whopping $70 million deal. However, the team still struggled on the court until the 1990 season that resulted in a 59-23 record. The Trail Blazers experienced a stroke of luck in the early 1990s after making it to the NBA Finals twice, losing to the Pistons and the Bulls. The Blazers then entered a rebuilding phase that led to a new roster, new coaches, and a lack of fan support.
Despite being down on their luck, the Portland Trail Blazers were able to make it to the playoffs every single season between 1983 and 2003. Not counting a gap in 1982, the Trail Blazers made it to the playoffs 21 out of 22 seasons.
The Portland Trail Blazers have been pretty consistent with their logos over the years, only making minor changes from one season to the next.
1970 - 1974
The first jersey was worn between 1970 and 1974 and was mostly white. The name “Blazers” was written in red and was underlined. This jersey seemed to have black bordering on all letters and numbers.
1974 - 1977
Until 1977, the Portland Trail Blazers used a mostly red jersey. It had the name “Blazers” printed vertically in white lettering.
1977 - 1991
From 1977 to 1991, the Trail Blazers sported a more unique design that would last for a while. This jersey was mostly black but had a red and white diagonal stripe across the center. There was also red lettering used for “Blazers” surrounded by a white border.
1991 - Today
The jersey used since 1991 has a few minor adjustments to the last one. This jersey is instead mostly white and has a red and black diagonal stripe. The name “Blazers” is written in black. There have been slight alterations since then but the jersey remains largely unchanged.