Saturday, April 15, 2006
Terry Porter can bring back Rip City
As the Oregonian reported today, I am involved with ex-Blazer Terry Porter and two other local guys in an effort to raise the capital necessary to buy the Trailblazers and keep the team in Portland.
We've been working on this deal for about six weeks, quietly putting the pieces in place until we could make the public announcement that we are seeking local investors.
The Blazers are too important to this town to just sit back and allow them to leave town. This city was once head-over-heels in love with the Blazers, and it can be again.
Who better to lead them back to their former glory than the one player who more than any other symbolizes what Portland fell in love with about the team during their heyday?
We have lined up $100 million in debt financing for the purchase, contingent upon raising significant local investor equity capital to round out the purchase. Terry will be in town next week to meet with prospective investors.
We met on Tuesday with NBA Commissioner David Stern to let him know our plans. It was clear to me at the meeting that Stern really wants a resolution to the Blazer problem, and that he would be perfectly happy to work with us provided we can raise the local investor equity necessary to buy the team.
The premise behind a Terry Porter led purchase is that Portland will once again support the Blazers if the players have good character, try hard every night, become part of the community, and respect the fans and the game. In any organization, the personnel tend to reflect the values and the character of its leader. Terry's team will reflect his character.
Terry will say to the people of Portland: "I pledge to put a team on the court that you can respect. We may not win right away - that will take time. But I will field a team that earns your trust. We will not ask the city for any public subsidy. The only public support we ask is to come back to the Rose Garden and support our team. Together we can BRING BACK RIP CITY!
We've put together a little web site where people can express their support of Terry Porter buying the team. Please give it a click and leave your name in support.
As the Oregonian reported, finding the local equity to make this happen is a difficult task. Terry is committed to doing everything he can to keep the Blazers in Portland. He's been personally calling several dozen prominent local people and businesses to ask them to attend a meeting next week where he will present the details of the proposal.
I've had occasion in my life to spend a lot of time around sports celebrities. I can say without exaggeration that Terry Porter is in a league of his own. He is humble, smart, charming, funny and willing to work hard. All the qualities that Portland came to know of him when he lived and played here -- they are absolutely true. They aren't just image - Terry Porter IS a class act in every sense of the word and I consider it to be a privilege to be working with him on this effort.
I'll post updates on our progress on this blog. Go to the website and join the effort.
Help Terry BRING BACK RIP CITY!