Thursday was supposed to be Shaedon Sharpe Day for Trail Blazers fans and Shaedon Sharpe. He was supposed to get a chance to strut the skills that were in hiding during his lone year (off) at Kentucky. This was his opportunity to tap on his accomplishments while polishing off an open case of Capri Sun.
The 19-year-old out of London, Canada, barely got the car in gear before having to shut it down, leaving the court with a shoulder injury after only six minutes of action. He went 1-3, had two points, and one turnover.
However, his debut was ruined earlier in the day in the form of a New York Post story about (hopefully) interim Blazers owner Jody Allen and her alleged “toxic” workplace. It dredged up skeletons from the closet, including literal giraffe and penguin skeletons that she’d smuggled out of Africa and Antarctica, respectively. The Post article also focused on Daniel Snyder-type sexual harassment allegations, saying Allen had her security detail model “European-cut swim trunks” in a fashion show. The case was settled before it went to court in 2013, and Allen’s attorneys maintain the accusations are untrue.
The Post’s source, Nike executive Larry Miller, also said, “It’s time for a change of ownership. Stable, solid good ownership is what leads to winning, you can’t win if you don’t have solid consistent reliable ownership. Portland has definitely not had that since Paul passed.”
It’s crazy how quickly the workplace was exposed as dysfunctional following Allen’s rebuke of a $2 billion offer for the team by an ownership group headed by Nike owner Phil Knight. Billionaires fighting in the media is some Succession-type shit but way less entertaining.
The internet would never recover if it was subjected to a TikTok of Jody and Phil playing boar on the floor. It seems like both tycoons would lose if all their secrets were spilled across the tablecloth like a grotesque crawfish boil, so I fail to see how Knight siccing his attack lackey on Allen gets him closer to the owner’s box.
There are other juicy tidbits like Allen allegedly not returning Damian Lillard’s calls or emails, and that the current dynamic duo running the Blazers — Allen and her right-hand idiot Bert Kolde — is going to drag out the sale of the team for as long as possible.
Former owner Paul Allen, who died from cancer in 2018, instructed that his trust be liquidated upon his death to further his philanthropic passions, and longtime Portland-based sports writer John Canzano reported “there isn’t a lot of wiggle room” for Jody, Paul’s sister, to get out of selling not only the NBA franchise but also the NFL franchise, the Seattle Seahawks.
I mentioned Jody said earlier this week that neither of the teams is for sale yet. She released a statement that read in part, “[…] estates of this size and complexity can take 10 to 20 years to wind down. There is no pre-ordained timeline by which the teams must be sold.”
Well, that’s encouraging. She’s basically coming off as defiant as John Dutton, refusing to budge even an inch on the thousands of acres of Yellowstone Ranch. Jody also is the head of the Paul Allen trust, which has billions of dollars in other assets that can be sold off before she has nothing left to “wind-down” but the two beloved sports teams currently being driven into the fucking dirt.
Former Blazers GM Neil Olshey was run out of the front office for doing a poor job and generally being an asshole, which nowadays is grounds for dismissal. If Jody is as awful as every picture in that Post story made her look, she should follow Olshey’s grease trail out the parking lot. If the past few seasons under her guidance are any indication, she’ll need a lot less than 10 to 20 years to do irreparable damage to Rose City’s favorite pro sports team. (For what it’s worth, the photos of Knight weren’t much better. I mean, woof, that’s a lot of filler.)
If Jody needs help selling off the trust’s assets, enlist Olshey’s successor Joe Cronin. He managed to unload an entire NBA roster, save for like three players, in record time. Got 70 percent of the asking price, too.
Honestly, this feels like only the beginning of a long tortuous process that ends with a billionaire who’s not Knight purchasing a malnourished team that’s on year 12 of picking in the lottery.
I like to imagine Jody sitting down on some yacht Thursday night, after a long day of stress-buying Chippendales swimsuits and screaming at yes men to find dirt on Knight, in the hopes that the Blazers’ Summer League game provides a modicum of relief. Only to start whipping remotes, drinks, whatever is in arm’s reach at various assistants after the No. 7 pick exited with an injury.
I prefer to dwell on that hypothetical because it’s a funny visual, but also because my daydream—Shaedon Sharpe Day—also only lasted six minutes. Sell the team, Jody, and go back to doing whatever it is billionaires do when they’re not ruining sports franchises.