Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft with Bill Gates, died Monday at age 65 from complications from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Allen owned three sports franchises, including the Portland Trailblazers, Seattle Seahawks, and Seattle Sounders FC.

Paul Allen
Paul Allen, owner of the Portland Trailblazers and Seattle Seahawks, won the Super Bowl in 2013 (Image: Kevin C. Cox/Getty)

Paul Allen and Bill Gates grew up in Seattle together and the two shared a passion for computers and emerging technology. When Gates went to Harvard, Allen dropped out of college and followed Gates to Boston. Allen wondered if he and Gates could write operating software for a personal computer. Two months later, they emerged with the code. Thus, Microsoft was born.

Technology Innovator, Portland Trailblazer

Gates was the idea guy, while Gates operated as the point man. Furthermore, partnership revolutionized the computing world, improved daily lives, and impacted the global marketplace.

Allen purchased the Portland Trailblazers in 1988 for $70 million from the original owner. Larry Weinberg, a real estate develop from New York City, was one of the primary partners who secured an expansion team in Portland in 1970. Weinberg sold the Blazers to one of the world’s first tech billionaires.

In a statement released by NBA commissioner Adam Silver said, “Paul Allen was the ultimate trail blazer — in business, philanthropy and in sports. 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. He was generous with his time on committee work, and his expertise helped lay the foundation for the league’s growth internationally and our embrace of new technologies. He was a valued voice who challenged assumptions and conventional wisdom and one we will deeply miss as we start a new season without him.”

Saving Seattle and the Seahawks

Allen purchased the Seattle Seahawks in 1997 for $200 million. The previous owners, real estate tycoons Ken Behring and partner Ken Hofmann, almost moved the Seahawks to Anaheim, California. Allen stepped in and bought the team, provided the city built a new stadium.

“Paul Allen was the driving force behind keeping the NFL in the Pacific Northwest,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said.

The Seahawks previous shared the Kingdom with the Seattle Mariners. The new stadium was complete in 2002. Currently named CenturyLink Field, the Seahawks home field is one of the loudest in the NFL because of an acoustical advantage. It adds to the lore of the crowd being Seattle’s 12th man on the field.

The Seahawks appeared in three Super Bowls since Allen’s purchase. In 2013, the Seahawks won Super Bowl XLVIII, their first and only championship.

The Sounders

Likewise, Allen’s passion for sports did not end with basketball and football. Along with comedian Drew Carey, Allen is one of the original owners of the Seattle FC Sounders from Major League Soccer.

Jimi Hendrix

Aside from computers and sports, Allen was a music enthusiast above all. Allen played guitar in several bands and donated millions to the arts through his foundations.

Allen’s passion for Jimi Hendrix inspired him to fund the creation of the Experience Music Project (EMP) in Seattle. The museum has a collection of musical artifacts including several guitars previously owned by Jimi Hendrix. Located in the Seattle Center underneath the Seattle Needle, EMP was designed by Frank Gehry in 2000. In 2016, EMP was renamed and rebranded to the Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP).