RENTON, Wash. – Paul Allen’s love was basketball and he delved into professional football out of loyalty to his hometown Seattle.
In the wake of his death, Allen’s ownership of the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers and NFL’s Seattle Seahawks has come into focus because of questions about how the franchises will move forward in his absence.
No one is providing many details about the succession plans for Allen’s franchise holdings in the wake of his death Monday from complications of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. His primary franchises were the Blazers and Seahawks, although he also owned a small stake in Major League Soccer’s Seattle Sounders.
“Paul thoughtfully addressed how the many institutions he founded and supported would continue after he was no longer able to lead them. This isn’t the time to deal in those specifics as we focus on Paul’s family,” according to a statement from Allen’s company, Vulcan Inc. “We will continue to work on furthering Paul’s mission and the projects he entrusted to us. There are no changes imminent for Vulcan, the teams, the research institutes or museums.”
For now, Allen’s teams will continue to be overseen by Vulcan Sports and Entertainment, an arm of the company he created. His sister, Jody Allen, and executive Bert Kolde were the other members of the Seahawks’ board of directors with Allen. Jody Allen may take a more prominent role with the NFL franchise going forward.
“It doesn’t feel like it’s time to be engaging in that conversation. We’re more into the conversation about recognizing what took place and how to respect Paul and his desires and all of that,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Tuesday.
“There’s plenty of time to talk about all that stuff. It’s not even a factor in our minds. I understand the interest, but there will be plenty of time. … Nothing is changing. Paul wouldn’t want us to do anything different than what we’re doing, which is to go for it and to represent it every way we can until you can’t.
“And we’re going to go for it just in that fashion.”
A similar message was being relayed in Portland, where Trail Blazers general manager Neil Olshey and Vulcan Sports and Entertainment CEO Chris McGowan spoke about Allen. The Trail Blazers are dealing with the death of Allen just a couple of days before beginning the regular season at home against LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers.
“At this point, we’re just dealing with the death and we don’t have any imminent announcements,” McGowan said. “At an appropriate time I’m sure we’ll come and talk with everyone about what potentially could happen, but right now we’re just dealing with the grief.”
Olshey said his final phone conversation with Allen was in early October with the owner asking if the Blazers GM was watching that night’s preseason games.
“He wanted to talk basketball,” Olshey said. “One of the things that is really unique about Paul is that everything was bifurcated. … If he wanted to talk hoops, he talked hoops. If he wanted to talk music, he called Mick Jagger. If he wanted to talk football, he called Pete Carroll. Who else gets that?”
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