It still stands as the crown jewel in the Portland Trail Blazers legacy as an NBA franchise—the 1977 NBA World Championship. On Wednesday, team owner Paul Allen and the Trail Blazers celebrated the 40th anniversary of that achievement by honoring the players, coaches, staff and front office who led that history-making season.
Taking to Twitter Wednesday night, Allen, who bought the team in 1987, celebrated the team’s victory and the lasting impact they’ve made saying, “40 years later, [Portland] hasn’t forgotten the history [the 1977 championship team] made.”
— Paul Allen (@PaulGAllen) January 26, 2017
In 1977, the Trail Blazers were an unassuming 6-year-old franchise that had never finished with a winning record, yet alone a playoff berth. Featuring a new coach in Dr. Jack Ramsey and seven new players, the team improbable run to the NBA Finals birthed a new fever in Portland–Blazermania.
As Sports Illustrated’s Curry Kirkpatrick wrote back then: “Blazermania was the force behind the team winning their final 18 games…including 10 in the playoffs, of course, the world championships.”
Years later, that season is still well-entrenched in the minds of the organization’s current players.
“[Portland] has a lot of pride about that championship…they were a tough team and a fighting team,” said Trail Blazers’ All-Star Damian Lillard.
All of the living players from the 1977 team were in attendance along with former president Larry Weinberger, founding broadcaster Bill Schonely and family members representing the late Maurice Lucas, Herm Gilliam and Dr. Jack Ramsay.
Speaking after the game, 1977 NBA Finals MVP Bill Walton addressed the fans.
“One thing that has never changed is the passion you fans bring every night. We can never thank you enough,” said Walton.