Where We Live: The Portland Trail Blazers logo

Do you know what the pinwheel represents?

The Trail Blazers pinwheel logo at center court (COURTESY BLAZERS)
The Trail Blazers pinwheel logo at center court (COURTESY BLAZERS)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Portland Trail Blazers are known around the NBA for many things, including the team’s unusual logo — the pinwheel. There is no other logo like it in sports.

Ryan Flaherty talks about the origin of the pinwheel, Jan. 2016 (KOIN)
Ryan Flaherty talks about the origin of the pinwheel, Jan. 2016 (KOIN)

“The meaning of it is pretty deep and pretty unique for the NBA,” says Blazers Director of Marketing Ryan Flaherty.

Flaherty says Blazer founder and first General Manager Harry Glickman needed a logo when the NBA awarded the franchise in 1970. So he called the only graphic artist he knew, his cousin Frank in Boston. Frank came up with the pinwheel.

“The ten lines that you see in here that intersect, those ten lines represent five offensive players and five defensive players coming together in center court in competition,” says Flaherty.

The curved lines represent movement and speed. It really is a conceptual, visual representation of the game of basketball.

“Yeah, it’s not just a picture of a hawk or a grizzly. It’s just not a mascot.”

The pinwheel has evolved over the years, but it remains the only NBA logo without a basketball or mascot. And even if fans don’t know the history or what it means, they don’t want it to change.

“What we do know is that they have a really passionate connection to it.”

The evolution of the pinwheel (COURTESY BLAZERS)
The evolution of the pinwheel (COURTESY BLAZERS)

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