Jaynes: Vulcan CEO Gets Blazers GM Neil Olshey's Name Wrong

Stephen Dunn

There was a pronunciation flub during the Portland Trail Blazers' press conference to introduce new president Chris McGowan, and GM Neil Olshey was on the losing end of it.

The Portland Trail Blazers introduced new president and CEO Chris McGowan at a press conference on Tuesday. Full transcript is here. Because McGowan doesn't officially start for a few weeks and he doesn't come from an NBA background or have ties to the Northwest, the press conference was extremely light on specifics. The biggest takeaway, as I noted here, as GM Neil Olshey's clear statement that basketball operations and business operations will be kept separate, with McGowan going along for that right.

There was one other oddity. Vulcan CEO Peter McLoughlin, not a regular presence at Blazers events, mispronounced Olshey's name during his opening remarks. Dwight Jaynes of CSNNW.com explains and has video.

First off, the newly named head of Vulcan Sports and Entertainment, Peter McLoughlin,opened the festivities by calling Portland Trail Blazer General Manager Neil Olshey (rhymes with 'hey') Neil Olshee (rhymes with "she"). That seemed not only bewildering but downright rude right here in the man's town in front of multiple cameras. I felt sorry for him.

The mispronunciation came right off the top and produced a low murmur of reaction among reporters.

In itself, a minor deal, but the larger point here is that the entire operating structure is starting from scratch when it comes to building internal working dynamics. Olshey, in addition to letting McGowan know he should stay in his business lane, made a point of noting that the two executives didn't cross paths much, if at all, down in Southern California. The chemistry between the two of them simply isn't there yet. Meanwhile, McLoughlin's presence was a new dynamic, especially when McGowan openly admitted he would be calling on his colleague when he entered waters too deep, such as television contract negotiations.

Taken together, what we have is a clear shift away from the Larry Miller administration in two ways. First, his plan to merge basketball and business has been torn to shreds. Second, his efforts to keep Vulcan out of the Blazers' conversation were undone, in a very public manner, on Day One of McGowan's tenure.

How these developments do or do not impact the success of the team will be a key item to track in the coming months and years.

-- Ben Golliver | benjamin.golliver@gmail.com | Twitter

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