Doris Burke on Portland coaching saga

Legendary ESPN NBA analyst Doris Burke joined the Posted Up w./ Chris Haynes podcast to share her insight on what went down in the search for the new Trail Blazers head coach.

Hear the full conversation on the Posted Up with Chris Haynes podcast. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you listen.

Video Transcript


CHRIS HAYNES: Doris, I want to take you to-- really quick off the playoffs into coaching search, but Portland. They just hired Chauncey Billups. He's wanted to coach or be in the front office. That was his aspirations ever since retirement. He gets his shot.

Also, Becky Hammon-- she was a finalist as well for that job. And she didn't end up getting it. But there's been a lot of backlash for the candidacy of Chauncey Billups due to a sexual assault allegation back in 1997 that resurfaced. And call that a backlash. And there's just a lot of backlash at how the Portland Trail Blazers handled that, especially with Becky Hammon.

We saw some reports out there about they did a background check on her. And they found out she wasn't all that appeasing or something along those lines. But I don't want to get too much into it. But I feel I at least got to ask you, what's your thoughts about that situation and how it was handled?

DORIS BURKE: Listen, I come at this from the perspective of the distaff side, right? I am a woman. And it is up to the organization who their final choice is. What I found interesting here, Chris, to me, as it relates specifically to the Becky Hammon piece, we both know many assistant coaches across this league who do a phenomenal job and get interviews.

And in the process, not one time have I ever heard when somebody-- and I won't mention a specific name because I can't even bring one instance to bear here where I've heard ex-assistant coach didn't get the job where the likeability and the work ethic was in play for an assistant coach. Not one time have I ever heard that.

So why where Becky Hammon candidacy was in play did we hear about her likability? I've just never heard that. We've heard it as it relates to players in terms of like James Harden, a little bit now Luka Doncic. Do people want to play with him?

We've heard relationship situations, right? Where perhaps in a head coaching situation, Rick Carlisle didn't get along with Luka. I just-- if you're going to evaluate a woman, evaluate her to the same standards that you are evaluating your male candidacy.

And I just thought the timing of the likeability leaks were quite interesting. It shouldn't be a convenient excuse to not hire a member of the distaff side.

I know Chauncey Billups from my time working with him. And to be honest with you, at the time in 1997, I was not covering the NBA. I honestly-- these revelations were new to me because I was unaware of that circumstance.

I would say, number one, Neil Olshey and the PR people just sort of stepping in and pushing back on a second question, if you hire that person with this in their history, those are questions that you should answer. And it just seems to me that it would be a responsibility.

And I would think that the league might step in here, very similar to circumstances in the past where they've stepped in if they were dissatisfied with the results of that investigation.

But the likability piece is really-- just really caught my attention, Chris, as it relates to Becky. Because not one time in the evaluation of-- that I can remember. Maybe you have one at hand that you remember.

CHRIS HAYNES: Well, not off the top of my head. But if Chauncey is the choice-- and obviously, he was the coach that they had in mind for a long time. If he was the choice, then you stick by that choice. There's no need to go and try to sabotage somebody else's candidacy just to show or prove to everybody else that you made the right decision.

DORIS BURKE: That's correct. And I guess the prism through which it could be viewed is, well, was he your candidacy all along based on your history with him? And that's the frustrating piece.

CHRIS HAYNES: And that, Doris, is what I was going to get to real quick is that my concern is for somebody like Becky Hammon or somebody-- Dawn Staley-- is that them being used for good PR submissions and not being really taken seriously. And that is my concern moving forward.

And I don't know what needs to happen. Because obviously, I think it is good for them to get these interviews. But my concern is just if these interviews are coming in good faith.

DORIS BURKE: 100% agree. And there shouldn't be a double standard as it relates to the qualifications of these respective candidates.