Some professional sports franchise owners view their teams solely as an investment. For Paul Allen, the Portland Trail Blazers mean much more than that.
The latest evidence of his passion for the Blazers came inside the visitor’s locker room at Oracle Arena in Oakland on Wednesday evening. Portland, predicted to finish near the bottom of the NBA standings, defied expectations all season, not only making the playoffs but defeating the Los Angeles Clippers in its first round series.
They then faced the defending world champion Golden State Warriors, which set an NBA record with 73 wins this season. Again, the Blazers surprised everyone but themselves during a hard-fought series, but ultimately saw their season end with a 125-121 Game 5 loss on Wednesday.
Allen, who bought the Blazers in 1988 and attends nearly every home game, typically gives some kind of end-of-season speech inside the locker room. But as CSNNW’s Jason Quick reported, the Microsoft co-founder was much more emotional this time around.
“Matter of fact, Allen’s passionate speech didn’t just cause his voice to crack,” Quick writes. “Around the room, as they listened to their owner, players were stirred.”
Players described his speech afterward with words like “powerful” and “real genuine,” with star point guard and franchise player Damian Lillard noting how “he really meant what he was saying. He saw that we left it out there, and he saw how bad we wanted it. And he felt it, he felt what we did.’’
— Paul Allen (@PaulGAllen) May 12, 2016
Allen, who turned into a meme earlier this week after his reaction to Stephen Curry’s overtime performance in Game 3, also owns the Seattle Seahawks and got a chance to celebrate a Super Bowl victory in 2013. But his Blazers have yet to win a championship while he’s been the owner. Based on Portland’s talented young nucleus and an impressive head coach in Terry Stotts, it shouldn’t be too long before Allen gets to join his team on the court, hoisting the Larry O’Brien trophy in June.