The Evolution of the Portland Trailblazers Logo

The Portland Trail Blazers were established in 1970 in Portland, Oregon. They played their first home game ever against Cleveland on Oct. 16, 1970 at Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The team originated as a result of the NBA expansion. Portland was granted an NBA franchise on February 24, 1970. The executive vice president of the club held a contest where fans could enter a team name for the chance to not only name the new team, but also to receive two season tickets for the first year. The winner of this contest was Blake Byrne, a general sales manager of the television station KPTV. However, Byrne wasn’t the only one to enter the name “Trail Blazers” – it was entered by a total of 172 people, and his name was chosen at random as the winner of the ticket contest.

As we are aware today, the franchise kept the name, but when the “Trail Blazers” name was announced in front of 11,035 fans during a regular season NBA game, the crowd booed. Over time, the team began to thrive and even brought home a national championship title in the first seven years. This made the fans forget all about the fact that they didn’t quite love the name at first, and the Trail Blazers have been beloved by the people of Portland ever since.

Historic Seasons and Team Legends

The national championship came in 1977 with significant help from Maurice Lucas and Bill Walton. Walton had been with the Trail Blazers since 1974, but Lucas, a power forward, had been acquired by the Kentucky Colonels that winning season. Together, Lucas and Walton put up an impressive number of points during the playoffs, leading the Trail Blazers to their first national championship. The Trail Blazers reached the NBA Finals again in 1990 and 1992. They lost in 1990 to the Detroit Pistons and to the Chicago Bulls in ’92.

With one of the league’s youngest head coaches, Nate McMillan, and a team full of rookies, the Trail Blazers plummeted in 2005-06. Portland had their second worst record of 21-61 (tied with their 1972-73 season) since ending with a record of 18-64 in 1972. As McMillan developed the younger team, the Trail Blazers hit another high point in 2009 when they found themselves back in the playoffs. The Trail Blazers ended the 2008-09 season with a record of 54-28, but lost the NBA Western Conference in the first round against the Houston Rockets. Power forward LaMarcus Aldridge and shooting guard Brandon Roy dominated that season, averaging a combined total of 40.7 points per game.

Today, the top players to watch are Damian Lillard, who was drafted to Portland in 2012, and C.J. McCollum, who was drafted to Portland the following year. The point guard and shooting guard are together currently averaging nearly 50 points per game.

The Portland Trail Blazers Logo

A valid argument could be made that the Trail Blazers logo isn’t quite like the other logos in the NBA. If you’ve never had any connection with the Trail Blazers, you may not even know what the logo is exactly. Well, for all of you waiting with bated breath to know, we’ve got the answer. The logo is a pinwheel, but not just any pinwheel. There’s a deep meaning behind the logo, and it’s actually pretty cool.

The five lines on either side of the graphic represent five offensive players and five defensive players coming together to compete in the game of basketball. The curved lines represent the movement and speed of the individuals on the court. The graphic genius who came up with this concept is the cousin of the Trail Blazers founder and first general manager, Harry Glickman. Frank Glickman was a graphic designer in Boston, and when Harry needed a logo for his new team, he gave Frank a call.

The concept of the logo really hasn’t changed. The team has just added and taken away different wording to vary it throughout the years. The original logo between 1970 and 1990 had five red pinwheel lines and five black pinwheel lines, with “Portland” above the logo and “Trail Blazers” below it. In 1990, the Trail Blazers went with a more dominant and clean look. They placed “Blazers” to the right of the pinwheel in large, bold letters. They kept this logo until 2002. Between 2002 and 2004, the Trail Blazers changed their logo twice.

The first time, the team changed the five black lines to white, to accompany the five red lines, and placed “Blazers” beneath the pinwheel. The second time, the team changed the white lines to silver and added a silver rhombus with a black fill between the words “Portland” at the top and “Blazers” at the bottom. The current logo is similar but with a darker silver and the word “Trail” added above “Blazers.”

The logo is unique and hopefully stays around for a long time. There’s nothing like it in the NBA today. If you’re a Trail Blazers fan and can’t wait to rock that logo at their next game, Fanatics has all the best gear ready. Don’t be left out when you head to the Moda Center!

Sources

Why I’m Excited for This Trailblazers Season

I moved to Portland in May 1992, the day before the Blazers started their second-round series against the Phoenix Suns. We took out the Suns and Utah Jazz in thrilling fashion before coming up short against the Chicago Bulls in the Finals. Little did I know at the time that the most thrilling Blazers basketball would be played in the first six weeks of my residence in RipCity.

Portland Trailblazers

By Another BelieverOwn work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Since then, we’ve suffered through the “not good enough” teams of the ’90s, the JailBlazers of the early 2000s, the unfulfilled promise of Brandon Roy and Greg Oden, and last season’s defection of LaMarcus Aldridge / roster reboot that should have sent us back to the bottom of the league…except it didn’t.

damian_lillardLast year’s unexpected and exciting run to the second run of the playoffs was the most exciting time since 1992 to be a Blazers fan. With Damian Lillard already the face of the franchise and locked into a long-term deal, the team decided that they like its current makeup, and elected to sign their core players to long-term contracts while adding some new key pieces, risking costly salary cap penalties that could hit the following season.

Why would owner Paul Allen take this risk? He clearly believes in the potential of the team. But, what makes it easier is that their players are not only great talents but are tremendous ambassadors for the community and have great fan appeal. The ubiquity of Social Media has allowed the community and the fan base to develop deeper relationship with the players…and might have contributed to them staying here long-term.

Leonard Meyers

For example, Meyers Leonard has tremendous potential as a big man who can shoot 3-pointers like a guard while also fulfilling the traditional defensive / rebounding roles of a center / power forward. He’s yet to fulfill his potential, but he received a 4-year contract extension based on his unique talents. He also likes to dance for his dog and is a fan favorite.

  1. C.J. McCollum also got a massive contract extension even though he only had his breakout season last year. He combines with Lillard to form an offensive backcourt pairing every bit as good as Curry / Thompson in Golden State. Yet, his newfound success has still kept him humble; though he has guaranteed his financial future, he’s still training for life after the NBA…as a sports journalist.

Allen Crabbe had a solid year as a bench player that generated a huge offer from Brooklyn, which was quickly matched. Like Leonard and McCollum, Crabbe is a very well-liked, popular player and, like McCollum, Crabbe only had one year as a rotation player before the team committed to him long-term. Currently, Crabbe and McCollum are representing the NBA in China…a trip that Lillard made earlier in the summer.

The Blazers also committed long-term to Maurice Harkless, a near “freebie” pickup from Orlando the previous season; Celtics veteran Evan Turner; and Warriors Center Festus Ezeli, who surprisingly showed up in the Portland Airport one day and signed a contract the next.

How will the Blazers do this year? Some of the prognosticators aren’t picking them to improve much despite their very successful second half of the season and maturation of their roster. We think we’re a top-4 team in the West (along with the Warriors, Spurs and Clippers). They should win 50-54 games this year (barring catastrophe) and take the division title away from the Thunder.

Most importantly, this should even be a more exciting season that last year. The fans were excited for the playoff run, but most felt that they’d exit quickly. Nobody could have predicted that they would knock out the Clippers and bloody the Warriors in the fashion that they did. The people in Portland are anxious to see the momentum from the second half of last season extend the entirety of this season; with the new pieces in place and Paul Allen’s financial commitment to the team and to coach Terry Stotts, we’re really excited for a high win total and a deep playoff run.

 

By Todd Mintz

Todd Mintz, is a massive Portland Trailblazers fan. He also has been with 3Q Digital (http://www.3qdigital.com) since March 2011, has worked in search engine marketing since 2000 and has used Google AdWords since it began. He was one of the founding members of SEMpdx (http://www.sempdx.org) (Portland’s Search Engine Marketing Group), is a current board member, and writes regularly on their blog.

 

Images sourced CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

  • https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a2/Damian_Lillard.jpg
  • https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/cc/Meyers_Leonard_Blazers_2013.jpg