Larry Weinberg, inaugural owner of the Portland Trail Blazers, has passed away in Los Angeles according to his family members. He was 92. Along with Founding President Harry Glickman, the late Herman Sarkowsky and the late Robert Schmertz, Weinberg led the group that secured expansion franchise rights to bring the NBA to Portland in 1970. Weinberg, whose personal wealth came through real estate, became majority owner in 1975; and was team president when the Trail Blazers won the NBA Championship in 1977. He sold the Trail Blazers to the late Paul Allen for $70 million in 1988.
“Under Larry’s ownership, the Portland Trail Blazers became the best franchise in the NBA,” said Glickman. “Larry was a Blazer booster all his life and appeared at many playoff games even after he sold the club. He was a fine gentleman. Personally, I worked with him closely and we became good friends, as well as owner and employee. Joanne and I extend our condolences to his wonderful family.”
Trail Blazers founding broadcaster Bill Schonely said, “Larry was truly a bright spot for our franchise, a gentleman’s gentleman as an owner and team executive. Whenever he was in the office, he made a special effort to always visit with employees. Larry was good to the Trail Blazers players and coaches, and someone we all admired.”
In January 2017, Weinberg and his family joined with the Trail Blazers in celebrating the 40th anniversary of the team’s 1977 Championship. Weinberg also appeared on local Portland media last October, speaking in heartwarming terms about Paul Allen upon his passing.
Information about funeral arrangements and other recognitions of Weinberg will be announced later by his family.