The Portland Trail Blazers Club was founded in 1970 in Portland, Oregon, USA. The idea of creating the NBA franchise in Portland appeared back in 1955. It belongs to sports promoter Harry Glickman. He suggested expanding the NBA into two teams: one in Portland and the other – in Los Angeles. However, for several reasons, the National Basketball Association’s leadership granted the right to create a franchise in Portland only fifteen years later.
In 1970 a competition for the team’s best name was announced. Among the ten thousand variants of the names, “Pioneers” was the most popular one. However, this option was excluded because it was already used by the university teams of Lewis and Clark College, located in Portland. As a result, Trail Blazers, the name that received 172 votes, was chosen.
The team colors are red, white, black, and silver. The last one was added in 2002. The team logo was developed by Harry Glickman, the cousin of the team leader. The name Trail Blazers refers to the builders of railways in Oregon that goes through forests and mountains. The name of the team is often shortened to Portland Blazers. Blaze, the Trail Cat, is the mascot of the Portland Trail Blazers. It has been the team’s official mascot since 2002.
Meaning and History
Portland Trail Blazer’s basketball team has a unique logo that sets it apart from other NBA members. The original version was developed by Boston-based graphic designer Frank Glickman, a cousin of the club’s first CEO.
It all started with the fact that sports promoter Harry Glickman decided to introduce his hometown to professional basketball. To do this, he needed not only the players and the name of the team but also his emblem. To resolve this issue, he called a cousin. In less than a week, he already had a ready-made sketch in his hands, which is still used in a modified form.
The Blazers will never drop out of the top 10 until they use this logo, the masterpiece of abstract art in American sports. Five red and blue stripes symbolize the top five competing teams on the court, which interact on one side, and on the other, converge in opposition. Of all the symbolism of the NBA teams, only the emblem of Portland reflects the poetic nature of the sport.
1971 – 1990
Almost 50 years ago, Portland, Oregon, became a home city for a new basketball franchise with the pretty catchy name “Portland Trail Blazers.” Frank Glickman painted a spinner consisting of ten curved lines. Five black bars on the left indicate the attackers and five red on the right – protection. The empty hole in the middle symbolizes a basketball game, which brought together the two teams’ participants. The bends create a sense of speed, because the players are not standing on the court, but are in constant motion. The word “portland” is written in lowercase. Below is the phrase “trail blazers”.
1991 – 2002
After 19 years, the club logo was changed, but only slightly. Since the 1991 season, the spinner has become oblique. Designers turned it 45 degrees and reflected the colors so that the left side was red and the right side was black. They also scaled down and placed a red and black italic inscription “BLAZERS” nearby.
2002 – 2003
The third change of the team logo brought some volume and a three-dimensional view. In 2002-2003 a modernized logo with no text elements appeared. The artists again switched colors, but this time made five stripes gray, and black was used for the contours and the central hole. At the same time, they narrowed the ends of the lines, giving them a pointed shape.
2003 – 2004
In the new version of the emblem, the vortex is placed inside a black parallelogram with a thin silver frame. The same geometric figure is the name of the basketball club, divided into two parts: “Portland” at the top and “Blazers” at the bottom. Font – italics with small sharp serifs.
2004 – 2017
In 2004, updates were made to improve the graphics rather than to change the design completely. The inscription was supplemented with the word “Trail,” positioning it directly above the “Blazers.” Also, the developers reduced the letters’ size, which allowed them to narrow the parallelogram vertically.
2017 – present
In 2017, the owners of the team again thought about changing the logo. And about global, to create a new concept from scratch. They organized a focus group with fans’ participation and found out that everyone sees the turntable as the main symbol of the Portland Trail Blazers and wants to keep it. It was decided to leave a cult sign, but to slightly modify its shape and color. This mission was entrusted to designer Rodney Richardson, who owned his studio at Mississippi.
The main changes were made in the picture, where the red lines were directed upwards and the white lines downwards. Besides, the designers have combined them under a single black contour line from both the top and the bottom. Also, they have made the word “Portland” in big black letters. The letters “P” and “T” were made with serifs – small lines at an angle of 45 degrees. As one of the Blazers players explains, this is a reference to the 45th parallel going north and passing through Salem, Oregon. The inscription “Trail Blazers” is located below the name of the city.
Font and Color of the Emblem
The club’s modern logo contains a spinner already familiar to everyone. But it looks unusual: the left side consists of alternating red and black lines, and the right side consists of black and white. The strips have the same thickness over the entire length and are cut off at the ends, as was the case in 1991-2002.
The meaning of the picture has not changed: it denotes the players of two teams who met in the same arena. Below the bottom is a two-line inscription “PORTLAND TRAILBLAZERS”, with the first word being much larger than the second and third. This technique allowed to focus on the name of the city.
The 2017 emblem uses an updated font. In the word “PORTLAND,” only the letters “P” and “T” have serifs. They are located on the upper left side and look like small triangles with an angle of 45 degrees. This value was not chosen by chance: the angle represents 45 parallel to north latitude.
All Portland Trail Blazers basketball team logos contain its official colors: white, black, and red. Over the decades, only shades changed, although sometimes silver-gray was added to the main colors.