Every night fans watching the Portland Trail Blazers will see a key player like Damian Lillard or CJ McCollum speaking in pre- or post-game — and it’s Brooke Olzendam who’s right there alongside them offering a glimpse into the players’ minds. Olzendam has been with the Blazers for two years after she pitched the job she’s currently in to Portland’s director of broadcasting, Jeff Curtin. It’s that kind of initiative that defines her career ascension, as detailed by Theo Lawson of the Spokesman-Review.
Curtin spoke about what makes her among the best:
“She really can read people well, which is a whole other talent,” said Jeff Curtin, Olzendam’s boss and the Trail Blazers’ Director of Broadcasting. “It’s like being able to understand when a player’s in a bad mood or a coach doesn’t want to talk about this story. So she knows just from body language, being able to pick up on that is a huge trait that she has because it’s tough.”
Olzendam had a previous stop covering the Indiana Pacers, where she honed in on that player-reading ability with players like Lance Stephenson:
“Lance Stephenson (of the Pacers) is a character, right?” Olzendam said. “And so at first, I realized that quickly and so what worked with me for him is when I got him for a postgame interview, I’d quickly tell him a few things I was going to ask beforehand. Because that worked for him, he didn’t worry, he didn’t stress and so he knew it was coming.”
Lawson’s profile of Olzendam starts at her beginning in reporting and everything that’s come since, eventually leading to the “dream job” with Portland.