Kerry Eggers of the Portland Tribune pulled some great quotes from Harry Glickman last week about Trail Blazer owner Paul Allen and former team president Bob Whitsitt. Check it out:
While Glickman’s fondness for the Blazers is enduring, he has no such warm feelings about owner Paul Allen, who took over in 1988 when Glickman had just become team president.
“I love the club,” he says. “I don’t like Paul, but I love the club.”
Before Glickman begins his explanation, he adds a qualifier.
“When the Rose Garden plan was being raised, Paul never said, ‘Build us an arena or we’ll leave,’ ” Glickman says. “He just went out and built the arena himself. I give Paul a lot of credit for that.”
In 1994, two short years after Rick Adelman had coached the Blazers to the NBA finals for the second time in three seasons, Allen fired him.
“One of the last things I did was go to Seattle to have lunch with Paul and (vice chairman) Bert Kolde,” Glickman says. “I wanted to talk them out of getting rid of Rick. Might have been the last thing I ever did.”
Adelman was fired, general manager Geoff Petrie resigned and Bob Whitsitt was soon brought in to replace Glickman as president and Petrie as GM.
“Didn’t like Whitsitt at all,” Glickman says. “That might have been where I broke my pick with Paul. I used terrible language, which I shouldn’t have. They told me they were bringing in Whitsitt and asked, ‘Can you get along with him?’ I said, ‘I’d like to think I can get along with anybody, but he has a reputation.’
“I’d been warned about him. He wouldn’t return phone calls — just a bad guy. Never talked to me about anything. The thing that really pissed me off was he lived in Seattle. If you’re the general manager of the Trail Blazers, you ought to live in Portland.”
When Glickman stepped down, he says, “I asked for a consulting arrangement or a pension, and they gave me neither one. They let me stay on their health plan for an additional year until Joanne got to Medicare. That’s the only thing they did.”
Glickman says he has “zero relationship” with Allen.
“A few years ago, I was asked by somebody if I wanted to go out and watch the first practice of training camp, and I said sure,” he says. “Kevin Pritchard was the GM at the time, and his secretary called me and said, ‘This is the hardest thing I’ve had to do in my life, but Paul doesn’t really want you there. You can come sit with the media later.’
“I said, ‘In that case, I don’t want to be there at all.’ I think Pritchard might have intervened and said, ‘You’re welcome here any time you want.’ ”
Allen, Glickman continued, “is a strange guy. Bucky Buckwalter was named the NBA executive of the year. Paul never called him. John Lashway was named PR director of the year. Paul never called him. Schonely goes into the Hall of Fame, he has never heard from Paul to this day. He’s just that kind of a guy.”
A few years ago, Glickman wrote an op-ed newspaper piece suggesting it was time for Allen to sell the club.
“I still feel that way,” Glickman says. “I don’t think they’ll be in really good hands until Paul sells the club. He’s done his thing. It’s time for a change.
“I’ll bet (Commissioner) David Stern has a list of a whole bunch of guys who want to buy NBA franchises. I don’t think he’d have any trouble finding an owner or ownership group.”
Harry Glickman is, even at this point of his career, one of the most respected businessmen and sports figures in Oregon. His word is his bond and people respect what he says. He has decades of friendships and alliances in this state to fall back on. I respect him for speaking his mind on this subject and, at the same time, find it appalling that Paul Allen can let his relationship with the man who brought this franchise to Portland deteriorate to that point.
Without Harry Glickman, there would have been no Portland Trail Blazers.