Emotional night at Blazers' home opener as Paul Allen remembered

NBA basketball fans and players observe a moment of silence Thursday night at the Moda Center before the start of a game between the Portland Trail Blazers and the Los Angeles Lakers to honor Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen, who died Monday. (KATU Photo)

Instead of the man, a “Rip City” hat and a rose sat in the chair Thursday night where Paul Allen had cheered for the team he had owned for three decades.

He died Monday at the age of 65.

The Moda Center was filled with emotion Thursday night. Never had the Portland Trail Blazers seen a season opener like this one.

LeBron James, the best basketball player in the world in his first game with his new team had come to town. But all eyes were on that seat.

The arena went quiet before game time for a moment of silence. Outside, it was lit up in red with a big “Rip City” sign out front adorned with roses and signs honoring Allen.

Players wore special patches in his honor.

The fans at the game couldn’t help but miss the man who dug deep to keep their beloved Trail Blazers competitive. It’s not often fans heap praise on team owners, but these fans know what they had.

“One of a kind. I think he’s done a lot for a lot of different people and a lot of different areas – Seattle to down here in the Northwest. I think he was a pretty big presence in the Northwest, so I think he’s going to missed by a lot of people and hopefully the next – whoever the legacy was left to is going to have to fill some big shoes,” one fan said.

On Thursday night, it was another season opener that was anything but regular. It was about LeBron and Paul, but the Trail Blazers also honored their former owner by beating “King James” and the Los Angeles Lakers 128 to 119.

Just after the team’s win, the Trail Blazers tweeted, “This one’s for you, Paul.”

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