Becky Hammon and Don Staley were literally there.
But instead of making history by being the first NBA team to hire a woman as a head coach, the Portland Trail Blazers chose former point guard Chauncey Billups — and led them to one of the worst seasons in franchise history.
This is what misogyny looks like.
On the day – Tuesday, September 20 – when Hammon and the Las Vegas Stock Team will hold them Heroism parade on tape in Sin CityIt’s a great time to remind people how badly Portland is failing at this. Only five teams had a worse record than the Trail Blazers last season, winning only two of their last 23 games. And yes, the team lost Damian Lillard in January to a season-ending injury, as well as replacing CJ McCollum’s second-best player against New Orleans. But how do you explain going 27-55 with a junior head coach when the two candidates you’ve passed cut the net this year?
The answer is simple: making stupid decisions is exactly what this franchise loves to do.
In 1984, this was the team that took Sam Boy over Michael Jordan in the draft. And don’t give me that “but they already have an excuse for Clyde Drexler.” You make it work.
In 2007, this was the team that took Greg Oden over Kevin Durant in the draft. And don’t give me that “But, we still thought you needed a big man to win” excuse. It was clear as day that Durant was a transcendent talent.
And in 2021, this was the team that chose Billups over Hammon and Staley to be their head coach. And don’t give me that “but, he has experience in NBA locker rooms” excuse. The Trail Blazers hired Billups when he only had one year as an assistant as the lone coaching experience on his resume compared to the eight seasons that Hammon spent on the San Antonio Spurs staff.
There’s also the drama that still hangs over Billups.
“Jason (Quick from The Athletic), we appreciate your question, we’ve addressed this. It’s been asked and answered so happy to move on to the next question here,” a Trail Blazers employee said as he cut off a reporter’s follow-up question to Billups during his introductory press conference.
Billups faced a sexual assault allegation in 1997. And before the Trail Blazers shut down any questions about it, Billups took to the mic to Say that position “(It) has affected every decision I make, you know, it has really affected me. It has shaped me in some incredible ways.” And after the former General Manager of Trail Blazers, Neil Olshei – who was fired in December of 2021 due to It states that it creates a toxic work environment Within the organization – Reports have been told to “take our word” on the team’s “comprehensive investigation” of the matter Reported The team has never contacted Pelops’ accused or received statements from other key figures from the investigation.
Incompetence is as much part of the DNA of this privilege as is poor decision-making.
“I came with a lot of credentials,” Staley told the New York Times in June last year. “I definitely have confidence. I can definitely stand up to the guys and lead them. The first All-Star Team. The best player in the game. I’m OK with that.” Since Staley said it—and when Pelops was hired—she won an Olympic gold medal as head coach for Team USA and the 2021 NCAA Women’s Championship, making her the first black coach—of any gender—to win multiple championships at the highest level in college basketball.
On the one hand, Hamon? Well, in addition to leading the Aces to their first WNBA title in her first season as a head coach, the highest-paid coach in the league got a chance to show people that she was a star after being repeatedly passed over for NBA jobs.
“Every hard thing I’ve been through has built in me something I need down the road, and though it’s so bad at the moment that I don’t get criticized or get hurt or whatever that may be, hard things build in you things that are essential to life and you’ll use them in “You might not feel like that at that moment,” she said after the Aces beat the Connecticut Sun, 3-1, in the NBA Finals.
“For me, it’s not really about proving others wrong, it’s about proving I’m right.”
The Portland Trail Blazers continue to get it wrong. And for a franchise who has screwed things up so many times in the past, you’d think they’d try to change their misfortunes by hiring Staley or Hammon after you brought them in for interviews. But they did what they always do and chose wrong by sticking with the “safe option”.
Don’t be surprised if you see Dawn Staley at the Las Vegas Aces Parade on Tuesday, as she will likely be on hand to celebrate with A’ja Wilson – her former star. And in a moment when the woman is drink in celebration — and celebrating their coaching excellence — the powers that be in Portland will probably just shake their wits out again.