The Portland Trail Blazers reported today that Dale Schlueter, a member of the team in the inaugural season, passed away Thursday at the age of 68. He had been fighting cancer.
The Blazers drafted him from the San Francisco Warriors in the NBA Expansion Draft. As a Pacific Northwest Native, he played over two seasons with the Blazers, and eventually retired in the area. Afterward, he was a part of the Blazers organization as an ambassador.
He averaged a double-double for the Blazers in 1971, with 11.7 points and 10.6 rebounds. Basketball-Reference has details.
From the Blazers:
Schlueter retired from professional sports in 1978, but remained an active member of the Trail Blazers family through his work in the community. As recently as last season, Schlueter still frequently led Trail Blazers ambassadors and alumni on appearances and fan visits around the Moda Center on game nights. He often represented the franchise at charitable events around the city. His calm demeanor, warm smile and welcome handshake were his trademarks and made him a local favorite.
"Dale was a living salute to those original days when the NBA first burst upon the scene in Portland and across the state of Oregon," said legendary Trail Blazers broadcaster Bill Schonely. "You could always count on Dale and his wife Jeni to support the outreach efforts that have made the Trail Blazers so beloved in our community. I counted him as a dear friend, and will miss him immensely. Dale was a no-nonsense player and a throwback to the great days of our sport. He played the game as it should be played. This was indeed his life -- the Portland Trail Blazers."
The Blazers will provide updates about services at a later time.
[Photo Credit: Portland Trail Blazers]