Paul Allen: The 12th Man


By Tarrian Rodgers


To most people around the world, when the name Paul Allen comes up the first thought that may come to mind is that he is the co-founder of software giant Microsoft. To sports fans, he was a passionate sports owner of three premiere sports franchises in the Pacific Northwest – the NFL's Seattle Seahawks, the NBA's Portland Trail Blazers and part-owner of Major League Soccer's Seattle Sounders FC.

Allen’s life you can say was sort of a self-fulfilled prophecy. He grew up a Seattle sports fan. “I grew up watching games with my father at Washington Husky Stadium. When I moved out to Seattle, I had a friend who would take me to Seahawks games in the 1980s.” Once Allen got his first taste of what being a northern Washington sports fan was like he made sure he work towards the goal of taking his love for sports into ownership

Allen established himself as an innovator and entrepreneur as a teenager, launching his first programming business while still in high school. A few years later, as the idea man and original technologist behind Microsoft, Allen helped pioneer the PC software industry a development that ultimately enabled billions of people to use computers for the first time.

For the folks who had come into contact with the late owner they would describe him as a problem solver. He often dealt with a wide range of challenges including expanding the horizons of human knowledge. His contributions are focused on some of the world's biggest challenges such as brain and cell research, climate change, ocean health, wildlife preservation, as well as pandemic preparedness and prevention. Allen is also committed to making his hometown a more livable place

In March 2017, Allen announced his pledge of $30 million for an innovative, permanent housing and onsite services community to help address the Seattle area's homelessness crisis. In recognition of Allen's broad philanthropy, as well as his leadership in fighting the 2014 Ebola epidemic in West Africa, he was awarded the prestigious Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy in 2015. All told, Allen's philanthropic contributions exceed $2 billion.

"We live in an age of big challenges," Allen said. "But I choose optimism. With the right team, anything is possible.” Allen as a sports owner purchased the Portland Trail Blazers in 1988. He was instrumental in the development and funding of the Moda Center, the arena where the Blazers play. He purchased the arena on April 2, 2007, and stated that this was a major milestone and a positive step for the franchise. The Trail Blazers reached the playoffs 19 times including the NBA Finals in 1990 and 1992.

The culmination of Allen’s sports ownership career came when he purchased his beloved Seahawks after a public-private partnership was approved by Washington state voters to a build a new stadium, which turned out to be one of the loudest in the nation. The Seahawks transformed that championship dream into reality in February 2014, winning Super Bowl XLVIII. Under the helm of Allen, the Seahawks made the Super Bowl three times following NFC Championship victories (2005, 2013, 2014), and won Super Bowl XLVIII in February 2014. Also Allen's Vulcan Sports & Entertainment is part of the ownership team of the Seattle Sounders FC.

Allen passed away in 2018 at the age of 65 of complications from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, "Paul Allen was the ultimate trail blazer -- in business, philanthropy and in sports," said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. "As one of the longest-tenured owners in the NBA, Paul brought a sense of discovery and vision to every league matter, large and small." There is no doubt his impact was felt in any arena he touched that is enough to make him one of the greatest owners that’s ever been in sports.

e Seahawks, the NBA's Portland Trail Blazers and part-owner of Major League Soccer's Seattle Sounders FC.


Allen’s life you can say was sort of a self-fulfilled prophecy. He grew up a Seattle sports fan. “I grew up watching games with my father at Washington Husky Stadium. When I moved out to Seattle, I had a friend who would take me to Seahawks games in the 1980s.” Once Allen got his first taste of what being a northern Washington sports fan was like he made sure he work towards the goal of taking his love for sports into ownership.


Allen established himself as an innovator and entrepreneur as a teenager, launching his first programming business while still in high school. A few years later, as the idea man and original technologist behind Microsoft, Allen helped pioneer the PC software industry a development that ultimately enabled billions of people to use computers for the first time.


For the folks who had come into contact with the late owner they would describe him as a problem solver. He often dealt with a wide range of challenges including expanding the horizons of human knowledge. His contributions are focused on some of the world's biggest challenges such as brain and cell research, climate change, ocean health, wildlife preservation, as well as pandemic preparedness and prevention. Allen is also committed to making his hometown a more livable place.


In March 2017, Allen announced his pledge of $30 million for an innovative, permanent housing and onsite services community to help address the Seattle area's homelessness crisis. In recognition of Allen's broad philanthropy, as well as his leadership in fighting the 2014 Ebola epidemic in West Africa, he was awarded the prestigious Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy in 2015. All told, Allen's philanthropic contributions exceed $2 billion.


"We live in an age of big challenges," Allen said. "But I choose optimism. With the right team, anything is possible.” Allen as a sports owner purchased the Portland Trail Blazers in 1988. He was instrumental in the development and funding of the Moda Center, the arena where the Blazers play. He purchased the arena on April 2, 2007, and stated that this was a major milestone and a positive step for the franchise. The Trail Blazers reached the playoffs 19 times including the NBA Finals in 1990 and 1992.


The culmination of Allen’s sports ownership career came when he purchased his beloved Seahawks after a public-private partnership was approved by Washington state voters to a build a new stadium, which turned out to be one of the loudest in the nation. The Seahawks transformed that championship dream into reality in February 2014, winning Super Bowl XLVIII. Under the helm of Allen, the Seahawks made the Super Bowl three times following NFC Championship victories (2005, 2013, 2014), and won Super Bowl XLVIII in February 2014. Also Allen's Vulcan Sports & Entertainment is part of the ownership team of the Seattle Sounders FC.

Allen passed away in 2018 at the age of 65 of complications from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, "Paul Allen was the ultimate trail blazer -- in business, philanthropy and in sports," said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. "As one of the longest-tenured owners in the NBA, Paul brought a sense of discovery and vision to every league matter, large and small." There is no doubt his impact was felt in any arena he touched that is enough to make him one of the greatest owners that’s ever been in sports.

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