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Trail Blazers quarantine reading

Need a book recommendation? Eric Griffith has you covered.

Summer beach reading season is rapidly approaching, everyone’s stuck at home in quarantine, and there’s no new NBA basketball right now. Sounds like the perfect time to read a book! Preferably one about the Portland Trail Blazers.

But what happens if you’ve already finished Breaks of the Game, Red Hot and Rollin’, and Blazers of Glory?

Fortunately, I have some lesser read recommendations on my bookshelf to share.

Promoter Ain’t a Dirty Word by Harry Glickman

This one’s not strictly a Trail Blazers book, but any team history is incomplete without the stories it includes. Glickman’s autobiography, published in 1978, traces how one of the Blazers’ founding fathers cut his teeth as a sports promoter in Portland in the 1950s and 1960s. Glickman’s pre-Blazers experience included run-ins with Judy Garland, scheduling NFL games for Multnomah Stadium (i.e. Providence Park), and founding a minor league hockey team. Taken together, Glickman’s experiences provide a rich historical context which helps the reader better comprehend the local relevance of the Blazers throughout the 1970s.

Powell’s link (support local book stores!)

Bill Walton: On the Road with the Portland Trail Blazers by Jack Scott

During the mid-1970s Scott held a place in Bill Walton’s inner circle. The counter-culture activist, who would later become Carl Lewis’ physical therapist, had a literal front row seat to Portland’s 1977 championship run. Walton and Scott would eventually have a falling out, partially chronicled in Breaks of the Game, but not before Scott published this unique portrait of the Big Redhead’s crowning NBA achievement.

Powell’s link

Idol Time by Larry Colton

Anybody who’s watched Fast Break likely remembers the almost surreal scene of Walton biking down the Oregon coast mere weeks after defeating Julius Erving and the Philadelphia 76ers in the NBA Finals. Even more weirdly, Colton was apparently huffing and puffing behind Walton for most of the ride. Colton’s Idol Time tells the story of that bike ride, interspersed with profiles of Blazermaniacs who lived through the Finals in Portland. The author apparently isn’t proud of this work but I’d argue it paints an important contemporary picture of both Walton’s psyche and of the Blazers place in day to day life in Portland.

Powell’s link

Rip City: A Quarter Century with the Portland Trail Blazers by Steve Cameron

This larger format hardback book isn’t as flashy as the recent coffee table publications from the Oregonian, but it still does an excellent job of chronicling the team’s 25th anniversary. In addition to the usual profiles it includes some photos and discussion of the construction of the Rose Garden leading up to its 1995 opening.

Powell’s link