Former Portland Trail Blazers, executives, and coaches are expressing their condolences at the passing of team owner Paul Allen. Jason Quick of The Athletic connected with members of the organization from the mid-1990’s, collecting memories of Allen from their era. (subscription required)
Among other stories, Quick shares former General Manager Bob Whitsitt’s recollection of Allen’s insatiable appetite for draft information:
Whitsitt said the weeks before every NBA Draft, he would send scores of videotape on prospects to his owner.
“He loved getting into the draft,” Whitsitt said. “He would do his homework, and he was happy and excited to do his homework. He liked to get a lot of information. I’ve worked for some owners who didn’t even know the 12th man on the team.”
Former Team President Larry Miller recalls Allen’s financial commitment to the franchise:
“People don’t realize how much money he sank into keeping the team here in Portland,” Miller said. “If it wasn’t for him wanting to do that, I would doubt Portland would be able to maintain a basketball team. I think the city owes Paul a lot.”
Former Head Coach Nate McMillan remembers a time when Allen’s passion for his players informed a trade decision involving forward Travis Outlaw:
“He knew that Travis was a young guy who they had kind of nurtured,” McMillan said. “And he wouldn’t trade him because he felt it wasn’t about money, or the move … he cared about Outlaw. That’s how I knew he cared about his players and that organization. It was like we were all his babies.”
Quick’s article has more quotes and anecdotes.
Allen died of complications from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma on Monday. He was 65.