Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen isn’t getting out of the basketball business, but his days of spending big bucks may be over. In an interview Monday before the Portland Trail Blazers first exhibition game, the reclusive billionaire told reporters that he does not plan to sell the team.
But Allen — who interestingly found himself in the middle of the heated NBA labor talks earlier this year — then noted that his free spending ways in Portland were over.
“As an owner, you really want to do the team right, the fans right, and the community right and build a winning organization,’’ Allen said, according to a report in The Oregonian. “So I’ve invested a lot, but the crazy luxury tax days and all those things, those are gone. Those are gone … There’s no enjoyment to losing money.’’
Allen — who has lost billions in the cable business and watched a number of his other tech investments hit the wall over the past two decades — also detailed his personnel decisions around removing two general managers in Portland.
Maybe Allen will use some of that saved cash to bankroll his new space venture, which he unveiled in Seattle last week. Or, perhaps, he’ll pump more money into the Seahawks, brain science, super yachts, museums, film production, etc.
Or maybe he’ll go in some completely different direction. With Allen, you never really know.
After all, sports writer Ben Golliver said it is rare for the billionaire to discuss anything publicly as it relates to the team. Golliver writes that Allen’s choice of location for the interview was pure Allen, a locker room deep inside the “bowels” of Portland’s Rose Garden. He also offers insights into Allen’s overall style:
A certified computer genius who hand-coded Microsoft’s early products, Allen has meddled so regularly with the Blazers that his employees seemingly never know what’s coming next and his basketball operations executives spin through as if in a turnstile.
To the city of Portland, Allen has been a globe-trotting technology junkie who uses Twitter regularly but has refused to take questions from independent media outlets in years, granting only rare, rehearsed interviews to team broadcasters and occasionally issuing prepared press releases.
Allen ended that with a bang on Monday night. And he returned to the comforts of a dungeon to do it.
More from Golliver’s report here.