PORTLAND, Ore. – A single red rose was placed on track seats previously occupied by Paul Allen, when the Portland Trail Blazers opened a season for the first time in 30 years without its long-lasting owner, who died this week.
Nobody leaves much details about the succession plans for Paul Allen’s franchise in the wake of his death, Monday from complications of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Paul Allen, founder of Microsoft and owner of Seattle Seahawks and Portland Trail Blazers, has died at the age of 65.
Before joining Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday, Allen remembers Blazer’s public address announcer as “The Ultimate Trail Blazer” after a summary of his extraordinary life as one of the founders of Microsoft with his childhood friend Bill Gates .
A white headlight was then routed from the latch at Allen’s seat, where the rose was accompanied by a white Blaser’s cap like the one he would often wear because the sold out audience honored Allen with a moment of silence.
“I have read a lot of tribute to Paul the last few days and what an extraordinary man he was,” said Blazers coach Terry Stotts before the match. “Not only in sports but in the world in general. I’ll probably think about the effects of life that he had around the world beyond basketball. It was just a phenomenal life and it’s really hard to really break about you.”  All lost a long battle with cancer on Monday at the age of 65.
Stotts said he knew he felt a much more passive Allen than the man who bought Blazer’s 1988 and led a team that made it two NBA finals in the first four years he owned the franchise.
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“He was a different owner than he was when he made the team,” said Stotts. “When he got the team, when I see some of his clips like a 35 year old owner, it reminds Mark Cuban when he was passionate about it as a younger man.
” I see everyone talking about his passion; you can really feel it. When I came here he had been the owner for 25 years and although he cares as much about Blazers now as he did when he came (team) he was so much fan, another kind of fan then. “
Blazers had black bands on their sweaters with Allen’s initials, PGA, embroidered in white together with a red rose head. The same PGA logo was painted on the sides of the Moda Center court near Blazer’s bench. ” All his performance and environmental impact on millions of people and the environment and the earth and everything, I think they are the things that are difficult to put in context, the grandeur of everything, “added Stotts.
An impromptu memorial was created on the iconic” Rip City ” sign outside of Moda Center to pay tribute to Allen, who also owned Seattle Seahawks and co-owner of Seattle Sounders FC in MLS.
The phrase, which has since become a moniker for Portland, was born during a furious comeback by Blaz ers against Lakers back 1971 when the last radio play-by-play man Bill Schonely proclaimed “Rip City, okay!” As Portland watched Jim Barnett linked to a jump shot.
The team remembers the phrase with an installation of Essential Forc es fountain outside the western side of the arena. “Rip City” took a different meaning on Thursday because the red and black block letters were decorated with dozens of red roses, like floral wreaths, notes and other memories submitted by those who will pay their respect to Allen.
“It was devastating,” said Ed Pulanco, 59, who works for Blazers guest service and came to the game early to take a photo of the memorial. “Today I’m really worried that it’s opener, opening day and he’s not here, I do not know. I can be bullied for it. It’s really sad. It’s very sad.”
Pulanco, who has been a usher on Blazers games since 2008, had a black satin jacket with Blazer’s pinwheel logo over his uniform to the game.
“To say the truth, I’m grateful for having a job. So, I owe him. That’s why I’m here because of him,” Pulanco said. “Otherwise, this arena would not be built or anything. To be a rich person, you can finance these things and help people. So, I owe him … I’ve been doing it for 10 years. Exactly 10 years last month. owes him 10 years. “