June 11 (UPI) -- Harry Glickman, the founder of the Portland Trail Blazers, has died. He was 96.
The Blazers said Glickman died Wednesday. The team did not reveal his cause of death. The Portland, Ore., native was also the general manager for the franchise's only championship team in 1977.
Glickman, considered the father of professional sports in Oregon, put together the Blazers' original ownership group after the NBA granted Portland an expansion franchise in 1970. Herman Sarkowsky, Larry Weinberg and Robert Schmertz paid the $3.7 million expansion fee for the team. Glickman was also a shareholder when Paul Allen bought the franchise in 1988.
Glickman was general manager for the Blazers from 1970 through 1994. He then became president emeritus. The Blazers won two Western Conference titles in addition to their championship run.
"Harry Glickman laid the foundation and established the benchmark for small market success in the NBA," said Neil Olshey, Blazers president of basketball operations. "He was the driving force that set the stage for the 1977 NBA Championship, a seminal moment that elevated Portland and allowed it to join the elite of professional sports franchises.
"His contributions to the city of Portland and the Trail Blazers are immense and for that we all owe him a great debt of gratitude."
The father of professional sports in Oregon, a true Trail Blazer.
Glickman attended Lincoln High School in Portland before he graduated from the University of Oregon in 1948. He then served for three years in the U.S. Army. Glickman went on to form Oregon Sports Attractions and promoted events, including an annual NFL exhibition game, boxing, the Harlem Globetrotters and the Shrine Football Game.
He also founded the Portland Buckaroos of the Western Hockey League. The Buckaroos won three Lester Patrick Cup championships while Glickman was co-owner and president.
Glickman nearly brought an NFL expansion franchise to Portland after he was assured of a team from NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle in 1964. Portland voters nixed the plan when they rejected a proposed 40,000-seat stadium.
Glickman is survived by his wife, Joanne, son Marshall and daughters Jennifer and Lynn.