clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The Trail Blazers pinwheel logo: When did it first appear?

OPB looks back at the history of Portland’s iconic professional basketball logo.

Phoenix Suns v Portland Trail Blazers Photo by Brian Drake/NBAE via Getty Images

One trait that I will (hopefully) always like about the Portland Trail Blazers: Their #brand consistency.

Being able to watch a 40-year-old NBA highlight reel and immediately pick out the classic Trail Blazers red, black, and white is comforting. It conveys a sense of history and tradition that lends gravitas to the franchise and promotes fan solidarity through the shared material culture across the decades.

Players will be traded, coaches will be fired, and general managers will be jeered, but the aesthetics of rooting for the Blazers never change.* It’s fundamentally silly, but I feel like I’m rooting for the same team that my parents and grandparents cheered decades ago.

A crucial element of that multi-generational communal experience: the classic pinwheel logo.

OPB interviewed design expert Rodney Richardson about the Blazers logo and he echoed this sentiment:

“Look, if you design this right now, and this was a brand new design, would it be accepted? Could you get it through?” he said. “And because it’s abstract in nature, because of the story that it’s telling, or even not telling, I don’t know that you could.”


“People feel a passionate connection to their teams,” he said. “They feel that they have ownership of these marks or they are, you know, this vested interest in them personally. And they’re passionate about that.”

The OPB article goes into more detail, talking about the history and symbolism of the logo. It’s all very interesting and worth reading if you’re not familiar with the story, but there’s one question I’ve had for years that the article doesn’t answer:

When did the Blazers publicly debut the pinwheel?

We know about the write-in contest to name the team. We know the comical tidbit that team founder Harry Glickman admitted that Trail Blazers “was not the overwhelming choice but it seemed to be everyone’s second choice” (Promoter Ain’t a Dirty Word, 1978, page 113). We know that the Trail Blazers moniker and team colors were announced publicly on March 13, 1970 at a Knicks/Sonics game in Memorial Coliseum.

But when did Glickman and the Blazers publicly unveil the iconic pinwheel logo?

Please let me know in the comments if you remember and/or can document the announcement!

*Knock it off with the uniform experiments, Nike. Nobody wants a half gray jersey or a tire track across their stomach. Advertisements on the shoulders are bad enough.