Blazer founder, sports pioneer Harry Glickman passes away Jun 11, 2020 7:27:48 GMT -8
Post by Kasey on Jun 11, 2020 7:27:48 GMT -8
PORTLAND, OR - The man who brought the National Basketball Association to Portland a half century ago has passed away.
The team has confirmed that Harry Glickman passed away yesterday. Glickman, a native of Portland, was interested in bringing professional basketball to the Rose City as early as 1954. After being rebuked in the mid-1950s by the NBA, which was still in its infancy at the time, he was eventually able to secure a franchise in the league in 1970, to begin play at the then 10-year-old Memorial Coliseum the following year. In 1959, he had agreed with businessman Ave Saperstein to acquire a team in the latter's American Basketball League, though the league folded prior to beginning play.
Glickman was awarded a NBA franchise in 1970 with the caveat he come up with a payment of $3.8 million in less than a week. Glickman had been working without investor support, but was able to put together a group of three real estate developers. Herman Sarkowsky of Seattle, Larry Weinberg of Los Angeles and Robert Schmertz of Boston put together the payment. Sarkowsky and Schmertz would later sell their shares to Weinberg, who became primary shareholder until he sold the team to Paul Allen in 1988. Glickman was the team's first general manager through his retirement in 1987; after which he served as president emeritus.
Glickman attended Portland's Lincoln High School, where he played basketball, and graduated from the University of Oregon with a bachelor's degree in Journalism in 1948. While in college, he wrote for the School paper, as well as the Eugene Register-Guard. He was a member of the Sigma Altha Mu fraternity, serving as president of the fraternity during his senior year. Following his graduation, he was a The Oregonian's UO campus correspondent, and also worked as director of the school's athletic news bureau. Prior to continuing his college education, he enlisted in the United States Army's 12th Armored Division of the 7th Army.
He went on to work in sports promotion and promoted pre-season National Football League games at Multnomah Stadium (now Providence Park), local Harlem Globetrotters' games, boxing matches and post-season NBA All-Star Games after the Coliseum was opened in 1960. Per one source, he also dipped into the entertainment industry: "In 1955, he promoted a Pacific Northwest tour for Judy Garland, but once she refused to appear on stage for the last concert in Spokane, Washington, Glickman got so irritated he swore to only work with sports."
Glickman also was among the founders of the Western Hockey League's Portland Buckaroos, which reached the finals six times and won the league title three times in their 13 years. That WHL is unaffiliated with the current WHL in which the Portland Winterhawks play. The Buckaroos, which switched to a different league, in the early 1970s, folded in 1975.
After his Blazer career, Glickman served his son Marshall at Portland Family Entertainment, a business venture which promotes baseball and soccer in Portland, and which managed a $38 million renovation of 21,000-seat Civic Stadium (now Providence Park) on behalf of the City of Portland. Glickman wrote his autobiography in 1977 entitled Promoter Ain't a Dirty Word. He was inducted into the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame for his contribution to sports in Oregon in 1986 and was was named Portland First Citizen of the Year in 1992. Glickman, along with Del Harris, was recognize by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as a lifetime achievement honor for those "whose outstanding accomplishments have impacted the high school, college, professional and/or the international game."
Glickman grew up in the Great Depression Portland, son of Polish immigrant Bessie, who worked in the lady’s garment industry, and Glickman also had a job as a paperboy. Upon his passing, he was 96.
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