Comedian, writer, former Mercury columnist, and all-around great guy Ian Karmel has written a hilarious and heartfelt essay for the Ringer about Microsoft co-founder and multibillionaire Paul Allen, who died yesterday. Allen owned the Portland Trail Blazers, and Karmel eloquently writes about both being a massive Blazers fan and how Allen's ownership affected the team's home city (for the better). Karmel writes:
I didn’t know the guy and I’m not a journalist. I’m a Trail Blazers fan, and for all but four years of my life, Paul Allen owned my favorite team. I met him once, though only by the loosest definition of the word “met.” After a game, he walked by in an expensive sweater that didn’t look expensive, and I choked out the words “thanks for owning the Blazers” — which is a deeply silly thing to say to someone, like telling Jon Hamm “thanks for having a big penis.” I said it anyway, though, and I meant it.Karmel gently touches on something that's hard to articulate—about what it's like to see your hometown change in front of your eyes, and why constants, like the Blazers, are so important in keeping a city's identity. "Sometimes it’s nice to care a lot about the things that ultimately don’t really matter that much," Karmel writes, while effectively providing hard evidence that these things, in fact, do matter, and quite a lot.
It's a great essay. Go over to the Ringer and read it.