Portland Trail Blazers sideline reporter Brooke Olzendam has become a fixture in the Rose City. Since she joined the franchise in 2016, she’s been empathetic figure connecting Blazers fans to players, coaches, and a myriad of human stories behind the glaring spotlight of NBA fame.
As it turns out, she also has a story of her own.
Olzendam has shared the details of her first marriage to Andy Collins, former University of Oregon quarterback, in multiple articles chronicling her journey to NBA prominence. Collins died of a heart attack while working out just ten days after their wedding, a life-shaping tragedy.
This week, Olzendam relayed the story once more, amid honesty and tears, in a video interview on behalf of heart health and the American Heart Association. The presentation needs no elaboration. It’s a real story from a real person in her own words, without veil or agenda other than to remind those around her that the issue is important.
As you know, Blazer’s Edge runs its own annual charity event to send kids in need to the Moda Center. We’ve asked you for contributions to that recently and we thank you for those. That drive is now closed. In support of Brooke, we’d like to encourage you to give to the cause that she uplifts. Her donation page is here.
I, personally advocate donating not only because heart disease is a critical health matter, but because Olzendam’s voice is important. Not everything is as it seems in the world of the NBA. Some images are manufactured, crafted as a brand for public consumption. In the six -plus years she’s been in the Portland market with the Blazers and NBCSports Northwest, everything I’ve heard said about Olzendam affirms that she is gracious, wonderful, and speaks from the heart. The relationship-first image isn’t act. She does what we’re all supposed to be doing, the way we were meant to do it.
I’ve donated a gift to the AHA in honor of the work and gifts Brooke has given us over the years. I hope you will too.
—Dave Deckard, Managing Editor