The Oregonian’s Jason Quick has long been one of the NBA’s great beat writers. The former Trail Blazers scribe mixed sound reporting, strong on-deadline work, and most importantly a deft writing touch in covering the local team for the last 13 years. Some beat writers just stand out, without being showy, and Jason Quick is one of those writers.
He’s moving on, though, to cover the University of Oregon football team. It’s a technical step down for Quick, moving to the “amateur” ranks, but one he’s more than ready for. After dealing with varying levels of paranoia and duplicitous turns from all angles as Blazers beat man for well over a decade, Quick is happy with the move, and happy to get out of the NBA grind.
In a great interview with Ben Golliver at Blazeredge, Quick describes what led him to ask off the beat. To most internet comment sections, the answers won’t surprise you:
Blazersedge: What were the factors that led you to ask off of the Blazers beat over the years?
Jason Quick: "I think it had become stale to me a little bit in a way. I think I just lost faith in a lot of the NBA. I've seen a lot of bull----.
From putting your heart and soul into a player and believing him when he talks about kissing his kids at night and all that, then you write that, and the next road trip you see him with somebody that's not his wife, basically getting it on. That's disheartening to me. There's a lot of times where you hear a bunch of bull---- from these guys, it's hard to believe anything.
"There was a time when I really, really enjoyed this beat. 2008-2009, around the time they had the 13-game winning streak [in 2007] and the year after that, that was by far the most fun I ever had at my job. There was a closeness with the team, a drive I had, a vision. But I think what made that special was a bunch of guys on their rookie contracts. I've seen how money changes players, changes their attitudes, so I think over time it eroded the goodwill that I had, pursuing stories because you want to believe what you're writing, you know? There's just too many instances where I would buy into it and down the road realize it was all bull---."
Quick went on to say that this was “the third or fourth time” he’s asked to be re-assigned. He talked up the solid relationships he developed with several Blazers over the years, but also didn’t hesitate to shoot down scheming agents, access-denying executive personnel (in ascending order: current general manager Neil Olshey, then Steve Patterson, then John Nash), and fans who don’t really stop to learn how the media is forced to function before unleashing vitriol.
The former beat guy was not without compliments, especially toward current coach Terry Stotts (“the best coach I've ever covered”), and former Trail Blazers star Brandon Roy – a player Quick admitted to being moved to tears over as he worked up the column that documented the injury-plagued former All-Star’s release.
Overall, for a writer that seemed to work with a cheery disposition throughout his time covering the Blazers, these on-record revelations were a bit of a surprise. That’s not to say Quick kept a smile in spite of the storm and stress – he expertly documented the many lows along with championing the highs.
Then again, when you think about all the Portland Trail Blazer franchise has tossed out there over the last 13 years – from the Bob Whitsitt/Paul Allen largesse to the Jail Blazer era to the ridiculous Vulcan paranoia to the recent injury-influenced low ebb – it’s hard not to think that there’s more at the door. Jason Quick probably has a book in him, and we’d be first in line to buy it.