The Path Blazers experienced their initially reduction underneath new head coach Chauncey Billups on Tuesday.
No performs have been diagrammed.
No baskets ended up shot.
This was Billups’ introductory news meeting — a lower-hanging ‘howdy Portland!’ minute. The easiest win on the routine. These kinds of gatherings are tough to shed but the Blazers kicked it away.
Billups sat alongside general manager Neil Olshey, hoping to set the tone for a new era of Blazers’ basketball. What enthusiasts, sponsors and media terribly necessary was a unifying, reassuring efficiency. The information convention need to have overflowed with authenticity, accountability and transparency.
It didn’t have any of that.
The new Blazers coach was accused of sexual assault in 1997. He was never charged. He settled a civil case out of courtroom in 2000. This information convention was a best opportunity for the Blazers and Billups to place what they repeatedly identified as, “the incident of 1997,” to relaxation.
Instead, they tripped all about by themselves.
Olshey identified as the incident “consensual” in his opening remarks. There are a minimal range of people today who know accurately what occurred in 1997. Olshey is not one particular of them. Correct or not, with or without a economic settlement, that word really should have hardly ever been employed in affiliation with a rape allegation.
Portland’s GM made available that the firm done a thorough vetting of Billups, which include an unbiased investigation into the rape accusation. Who did investigators chat with? What did they understand? What in the investigation produced the Blazers really feel excellent about choosing Billups? When questioned for clarity about the investigation Olshey bristled and known as it “proprietary” information.
Included Olshey: “You’re just going to have to consider our phrase.”
There have been some wild times around the several years close to in this article when it arrives to introductory information conferences for Portland head coaches. Former coach Mike Schuler, for illustration, went to sit in a folding chair and fell off the again of a stage for the duration of his very first news meeting. Billups didn’t pancake. The corporation did it for him.
Billups talked about his wife and 3 daughters early on. He talked about his connection with star Damian Lillard. He was afterwards supplied a likelihood by veteran defeat reporter Jason Rapid to dive further, humanize himself and speak about how the intercourse-assault allegation formed him in “unbelievable means,” as he claimed himself a couple minutes before.
It was a great query by Quick. I sat ahead to hear to Billups. Perhaps you did, much too. Due to the fact this was the second we all needed. It had the likely to be a effective pivot place but was swiftly lower off by Ashley Clinkscale, the franchise’s company general public relations senior vice president.
“We’ve addressed this,” Clinkscale explained. “It’s been asked and answered. Satisfied to shift on to the following dilemma.”
Can we move on? Is anyone happy?
The principal target of Tuesday’s information convention must have been closure. Billups himself stated the sexual intercourse-assault allegation in his rookie season modified his daily life. How so? It was an critical prospect, just one Billups himself terribly essential. Only nobody got to hear his response because the Blazers PR employees slammed the doorway on it.
It appeared suspiciously like an orchestrated go.
Olshey appeared to relay a “that’s enough” signal to Clinkscale mid-dilemma. The GM scratched his nose, picked up one of the two h2o bottles on the table in front of him and took a drink. He also glanced at Clinkscale, who appeared to execute the perform as if it have been a hit-and-run.
For Billups, it was an introduction into the ham-handed environment of Path Blazers, Inc. For the relaxation of us, it was a different illustration of the basketball business blowing an prospect to deeply link with supporters. The inquiries about Billups will not halt. They’ll go on, only now with additional skepticism. He’ll be billed with coaching the roster amid the distraction.
Let us experience it — folks want to like Billups. They want to accept him and know him. We’re forgiving by nature, but have to have aid to get there. The news conference was the first, and possibly only, opportunity to listen to Billups speak about basketball, household and put to rest the queries in his past.
We required it.
Billups deserved that himself.
“Asked and answered,” the PR individual claimed.
It hadn’t been requested or answered.
I never know if Billups is likely to gain a pile of games in Portland. He may possibly be a sensational coach. He may wrestle offered Olshey’s lack of ability to create a comprehensive roster. But I know that Tuesday’s information meeting celebration was not a promising start out. It was a clunky corporate output that in the long run offended the viewers.
Peace of thoughts isn’t “proprietary.”
It need to have belonged to the full admirer base currently.
Electronic mail: [email protected]
Subscribe to John Canzano’s weekly electronic mail newsletter.
Adhere to Canzano on Twitter at: @johncanzanoBFT